VISIONS AND CONNECTIONS: 1492 - 1992
Volume 12, No. 1, Winter/Spring 1992
woman Governors State University, University Park, IL 60466
Published under the auspices of the provosts office,
© 1 992 governors state university and helen hughes
ISSN 0736 - 4733
Helen E. Hughes, Editor
Suzanne Oliver, Art Director
Barbara Conant, Library Resources
Nirmalo Grutzius, Business Manager
Lynne Hostetter, Word Processing
Linda Kuester, Word Processing
Priscilla Rockwell, Editorial Consultant
Emily Wasiolek, Editorial Consultant
Sally Petrilli, Editorial Consultant
Glenda Bailey-Mershon, Illinois NOW/National Organization for Women, Oak Park, IL
Donna Bandstra, Healthgroup International, Sherman Oaks, CA
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Rev. Ellen Dohner Livingston, Religion, Unitarian Society of Ponoma Valley, CA
Rita Durrant, League of American Pemoomen, Doylestown, PA
Deborah Garretson, Counseling, Muncie, IN
Temmie Gilbert, Theatre/ Media, Governors State University
Linda Grace-Kobas, Journalism, University of Buffalo, NY
Harriet Gross, Sociology/Women's Studies, Governors State University
Helene N. Guttman, Biological Sciences, Bethesda, MD
Bethe Hagens, Anthropology, Governors State University
Barbara Jenkins, Psychology, Governors State University
Betye Saar, Fine Arts, Hollywood, CA
Sara Shumer, Political Theory, Haverford College, PA
Rev. Lynn Thomas Strauss, Religion.Women's Studies/Parenting, Knoxville, TN
PAGE TABLE OF CONTENTS
3 Introduction. Visions and Connections: 1492-1992 HEH
5 The Ways of Two Worlds Clara Sue Kidwell
12 The Meaning of Meat Edward Searle
16 Women and War Barbara M. Conant
21 The Peace Cranes Are Flying Mint Neal
23 Dancing Shawna Craig
24 Janet Cowser, Photographer
In Nature, Herself Commentary by Jay Boersma
25 Artist's Statement Janet Cowser
29 Poetry, Grandmother Georgeann Eskivich Rettberg
30 Mending Heads Mary Carroll
34 Mornings with Great-grandfather Georgeann Eskievich Rettberg
35 In No One's Arms Kim Meilicke
A Writer, Eppis Barbara Foster
36 Nine Months Florence McGinn
Spring Planting With My Daughter Florence McGinn
37 Diary Entry 8/9/89 Louise Budde DeLaurentis
To His Bones, In The House Shrine Lisa Yount
38 Book Review, Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women Reviewed by Margaret S. Matchett
40 Book Review, Women For All Seasons: Poetry and Prose About Transitions in Women 's Lives
Reviewed by Terri L.Jewell
41 Letters To The Editor
45 Guest Editorial, America's Number One Safety Problem:
Violence Against Women Riane Eisler
The Creative Woman Is published three times a year by Governors
State University. We focus on a special topic in each issue, presented
from a feminist perspective. We celebrate the creative achievements of
women in many fields and appeal to inquiring minds. We publish
fiction, poetry, book reviews, articles, photography and original graphics.
Cover: Photograph by Janet Cowser
VISIONS AND CONNECTIONS:
A little girl is crying and cannot be consoled; an
adult has just told her that, although there are
many things she can do and be when she grows up,
an American Indian is not one of them. That little
girl, (a distant relative, Marjorie Child) echoes a
strange, deep American grief. Carl Jung wrote that
he had never analyzed an American who did not
have an American Indian component in the psyche.
The child's disappointment was not just the broken
fantasy of an imaginative child; rather, it is an
expression of some aspect of our national psyche.
What is that about?
When English missionary Thomas Mayhew
preached Christianity to the Indians on Martha's
Vineyard in the mid 1600s, they all stood together
in a circle in the forest: who converted whom?
In this issue we are not going to re-tell the tales of
tears, of the Trails of Tears, of the small-pox in-
fected gift blankets, massacres, genocide, or na-
tional shame. We are going to try to recapture the
vision and find the connections: "Holy Mother
Earth, the trees and all nature are witnesses of your
thoughts and deeds." That's a Winnebago saying; it
could have been Henry David Thoreau or John
What is the vision? How it could be? How it ought
to be? How to make things whole? The vision of
the city of equality, justice, harmony, reverence for
life and peace? What part of our national dream
has evolved from the Native peoples? (or our
imaginative projections onto them)? How do we
relate to animals? (read Ed Searle). How are human
rights values connected to the anti-war or the peace
movement? (read Barbara Conant and Mim Neal
on our relations with Japan, read Mary Carroll's
Against this background of (largely unconscious)
national obsession, as we struggle to mature as a
civilization, out of the bloody past, it would be well
to bring to conscious awareness the contributions
of the indigenous peoples. While it may be easy to
feel vicarious rage and misery on their behalf, the
important thing is to incorporate and integrate the
meaning of the original spirits of this land (read —
and I do mean read — the photographs of Janet
Cowser). Maybe we do have a manifest destiny!
Maybe it is to rediscover that this land and its
resources require relationships of balance. What
"vanishing Indian?" She is alive and well and
steering us toward our future. The spirit that
survived 300 years of war is unquenchable; it may
be that if we attend and honor these ways,
thoughts and traditions, the nation may be re-
The Newberry Library
60 West Walton Street
Chicago, Illinois 60610
January 18-April 18, 1992
AMERICA IN 1492
An Exhibition of Books and Manuscripts Portraying
American Civilization on the Eve of the Columbus Voyages
Let no one doubt that redemption is needed — in
the system of justice? (read Riane Eisler who writes
the editor's column in this issue) in the process of
Congressional hearings? (read Betty Ticho's letter
to Senator Simpson) Where are we today? (read
Margaret Matchett on Backlash).
Two related events mark this first month of the
quincentennial: the Newberry Library in Chicago
has mounted a major exhibit on "America in 1492."
It is not about discovery, encounter or conquest — it
displays the rich civilizations that existed here in
1492, in books, artifacts and manuscripts and offers
guided tours, lectures, posters and special training
sessions for educators. Concurrently, comes the
publication by Alfred A. Knopf of America in 1492:
The World of the Indian Peoples Before the Arrival of
Columbus, edited by Alvin M. Josephy, Jr. This is a
rich, fascinating book by specialists and scholars,
Indian and non-Indian, on hunters in the Arctic,
societies of the Plains, farming communities of the
Eastern Woodlands, the Inca Empire; it lays before
the reader worlds of religious forms and languages,
organization of societies and systems of knowl-
edge. Clara Sue Kidwell, historian of science,
whom readers will remember as guest editor of our
special issue on the Native American Woman, is
the author of an impressive chapter on "Systems of
Knowledge," which she has adapted for us as our
lead article for this issue. With pride we invite you
to discover the archeoastronomy and plant tax-
onomy of this hemisphere; and to look for the
Frederick Hoxie, Director of the Center for the
American Indian at the Newberry Library, says,
"The important thing about the quincentennial is
not Christopher Columbus, but coming to terms
with our heritage." Wilma Mankiller, Chief of the
Cherokee Nation (250,000 members) says, "We
could all go through 1992 being upset and being
angry. I don't think that would accomplish any-
thing. This year is an opportunity to educate people
Revive the vision.
Find the connections.
Indians panning for gold as depicted by Gonzola Fernandez de Oviedo y Valdes in 1547. This aboriginal practice
obviously attracted wide attention and inflamed European greed. The man on the right hoes up gravel, while the
figure in the middle carries a basin of gravel to the stream. On the left, a man pans for the heavier particles of gold,
which settle in the bottom of his basin.
THE WAYS OF TWO WORLDS
Clara Sue Kidwell
In the late fall of 1492, two men watched the skies
with particular interest. On the bridge of the Santa
Maria, Christopher Columbus looked to the heav-
ens and relied on sextants and astrolabes to plot his
position on the vast Pacific in relation to the sun
and the stars. In the new world, a Hopi man left
his home before dawn on a clear, cold morning and
walked to a rise of land near his village, where he
settled himself at the top of the rise to watch the
sun make its first appearance above the eastern
The Hopi Sun Watcher and Christopher Columbus
had something in common — a desire to know what
the future would bring. For Columbus, his calcula-
tions and his beliefs told him that India lay ahead.
For the Hopi, the progress of the sun along the
solstice point indicated the timing of ceremonies
that would assure that the sun would turn back in
his path and reverse his journey across the sky so
that the seasons would change and the corn crops
would grow. His observations timed the perfor-
mance of the Soyal ceremony, which helped the
Sun regain his strength and begin his journey back
to his northern house. It also marked the yearly
appearance of the Katchina spirits, who bring rain
and fertile crops and are an essential part of Hopi
life. His observations also predict the time of the
last killing frost so that planting may begin. The
Sun Watcher knows where the sun will rise, but he
can also tell where the moon stands in relation to
the sun during the year, and whether it will be
early or late in following the sun in a month.
The ability to predict the outcome of events is an
essential aspect of science in the modern world. It
was, and is, crucial to the continuation of the Hopi
world. The comparison between Columbus and
the Hopi reveals basic similarities and differences
between the world views of the Old World and the
New. Columbus was a product of a European
intellectual tradition of rational inquiry. He did not
doubt that the world was round; he simply mis-
judged his distances and didn't know about the
land mass that stood in the way of his passage to
India. He probably continued to believe that he
had discovered India, even if he did not find the
great cities and wealth that he expected. The Hopi
man believed that his world was bounded by four
sacred directions, and that his actions were neces-
sary for it to continue.
Although the ways of understanding the natural
environment might have differed, both Europeans
and native people had similar ends in view — to be
able to control the outcome of events in the world
around them. Both relied on systematic observa-
tion of physical phenomena to be able to predict
But European and native world views diverged on
the importance of uniformity in nature. A. Irving
Hallowell, an anthropologist working in northern
Canada in the 1930's, asked a Saulteaux man "Are
all the stones we see around us alive?" and after the
man had thought about the question a while he
replied, "No, but some are." To the contemporary
scientist, it is the "all" that is important, a law of
nature. To the Saulteaux, it is the "some", those
rocks that people see moving of their own volition,
speaking to people, or otherwise acting in an
unusual way. '
Native people nevertheless recognized similarities,
and they had ways of classifying things in the
physical world, although their categories diverge
significantly from the Western Linnean plant
classification system. The Navajo characterized
plants as male and female, depending on character-
istics such as size and hardness or softness of stems
and foliage. The system was based on analogy to
personality traits distinguishing men and women
rather than on the idea of physical sexual character-
istics of plants. 2
The Aztecs used three major categories of plants:
trees (quauhtli), bushes (quaquauhzin), and herbs
(jxihuitl). Plants names generally include a word or
suffix that indicated whether they were food
(quilitl), ornamental (yochitl), medicinal (path), or
economic, plants used for building, clothing, or
material objects, for which a number of suffixes
were used. 3
The Thompson Indians of British Columbia named
some plants according to medicinal use, as
ilie'litu'nEl, "Cough medicine," or cuxcuxuza,
"grizzly bear berry," one eaten by grizzly bears.
They also recognized that certain plants generally
grew together, and their names indicated that they
were companions. For example, the woodbetony
(Pedicularis bracteosa) was used in basketmaking. It
was sometimes found with species of willow weed
(Epilobium), and the Thompson expressed this in its
name skikens a. sha'ket, meaning "companion of
willow weed." 4
The Navajo put bats in the same category as insects
because of an origin tradition in which insects and
bats lived together in a previous world. The bad-
ger was classified with the wolf, mountain lion,
bobcat and lynx (which were grouped as predatory
animals) because he was their friend. 5
The native and European world views diverged in
the matter of experimentation. For Western sci-
ence, nature is governed by laws, and similar
Idealized picture of a cliff dwelling by a nineteenth-century
American anthropologist includes a tower kiva from which
observations of the movements of heavenly bodies were made.
actions will always lead to similar results. The
proof of a scientific hypothesis is in its power to
predict the outcome of a set of circumstances
controlled by the experimenter. For Native people,
human relationships with spiritual forces governed
the world. The Hopi Soyal ceremony made the sun
turn in his path. It would be unthinkable to fail to
perform it to see whether it worked.
Both world views valued systematic observation of
nature, and particularly of the heavens. In Europe
in 1492, The Earth was still the center of the uni-
verse (the Copernican sun-centered universe was
not promulgated until 1543). Observations were
oriented toward the movements of planets against
the background of the fixed stars with their distinc-
tive patterns that constituted the zodiac.
In the New World, the horizon was the most
important marker. 6 Throughout North and South
America, people built structures that aligned with
certain points on the horizon to allow for observa-
tion of regularly recurring phenomena. In the ruins
of pueblos dating back to at least 1100 A.D. in the
southwest, Casa Rinconanda, a large circular kiva
(a semi- underground chamber for ceremonial
activities) in the Chaco Canyon region in eastern
New Mexico, has 28 indentations around its perim-
eter and four specially placed niches. At the time
of the summer solstice, the rising sun cast its first
light directly upon one of the niches. 7
Some of the curiously placed corner windows of
the ruins of Pueblo Bonita in Chaco Canyon may be
observation sites for solstices or other celestial
phenomena. 8 On Fajada Butte, near the large
pueblo ruins in the Canyon, three large rock slabs
rest on a small outcropping and lean against the
side of the butte. On the day of the summer sol-
stice, a thin dagger of light passes through the exact
center of a spiral design carved into the butte's side
behind the rocks. At the winter solstice, two
daggers just graze the sides of the spiral. Whether
the placement of the stone slabs is deliberate or
accidental, the spiral in the rock is definitely of
human origin, and the conjunction of light and
shadow with the spiral make the sun dagger a
solstice marker. 9
On a bluff on the side of the Big Horn mountains in
Wyoming is a Medicine Wheel which both pre-
dicted and marked the summer solstice. It consists
of a circle of stones some four meters in diameter,
with twenty-eight spokes radiating from a central
cairn and five stone cairns placed around the
outside of the circle. The solstice sun rises at a point
along a sight line from one of the outer cairns
across the middle cairn. Other sight lines along the
spokes of the wheel point approximately to points
of rising of the bright stars Rigel and Aldabaran,
which precede the solstice by a matter of weeks. 10
The Pleiades were another predictor of future
events. They appear in the sky in the fall and
remain there in the northern hemisphere until the
spring, when they disappear below the horizon.
The dates of their first and last appearance depend
upon the latitude of the observer; however, their
first presence generally corresponds with time of
the first killing frost, and they remain in the sky
until about the time of the last frost. They are a
distinctive marker of planting time for agricultural-
ists. At approximately 42° north latitude, the
Seneca communities in up-state New York ob-
served first rising of the Pleiades by the middle of
October. They timed the beginning of their tradi-
tional Mid-winter ceremony by the passage of the
Pleiades directly above the central longhouse of
their villages in early February, and it predicted the
beginning of their planting season. The Pleiades
disappeared from the night sky in about mid-May.
The type of corn grown by the Seneca required
approximately 120 days of frost-free weather to
appear and mature. The zenith passage of the
Pleiades in mid-February marks the mid-point of
the frost season. The disappearance of the Pleiades
from the sky around May 5 to 19 and their reap-
pearance around October 10 to 15 encompass a
period of 153 to 163 days, a comfortable margin for
the growth of corn. "
The Pleiades were observed by agricultural people
throughout North America, and various stories
were told about their origins. A charming story
from the Sac and Fox tribe tells about six brothers
and the youngest brother's little dog, who were
hunting one day. They began to chase a particu-
larly large and strong buffalo. As they pursued the
beast they suddenly realized that they had left the
earth and were running up to the sky. But it was
too late to stop, and so they must continue the
chase forever. The six bright stars of the Pleiades
are the six brothers, and the faint, seventh star is
the youngest hunter's little dog. 12 The story ex-
plains an aspect of the physical world in a way
much different than that of European science.
The Aztecs observed the Pleiades for a different but
equally important reason. When the Pleiades
passed directly overhead at midnight in the final
year of the 52-year cycle called the Calendar
Round, the ceremony named toxiuhmolpilia, or
"binding of the years," occurred. The ceremony
bound the two cycles of the Aztec calendar system.
One was a sacred calendar of 260 days (the tzoltin)
formed by the interlocking of a series of 20 named
days (as we name the days of the week), and a
series of 13 numbers (as we count 29, 30 or 31 days
in a month.) This year is unique among calendar
systems. It may derive from an origin at the city of
Copan, which is at approximately 20° north latitude
where the sun passes directly overhead two times a
year at an interval of 260 days. 13 Its purpose in the
lives of the Maya was, and remains, its astrological
significance. 14 It may be related to the 260 day
gestation period of the human female, or to the
base 20 numerical system of the Maya. 15 The
second cycle corresponded roughly to a solar year,
with 18 named months each consisting of 20 num-
bered days and five days at the end, which were of
special religious significance. It was not corrected
with a leap year and so gained time on the seasons
and is generally called the Vague Year. Its purpose
was not to keep time for planting seasons. Rather,
the Mayan calendar followed progressions of days
through cycles, and the Vague Year's purpose was
more likely to mark certain ceremonial or political
Like two interlocking gears, the 260 day tzoltin and
the 365 day year began at one point and revolved
against each other until that same point was
reached. It took 18,980 days (or 52 years) to com-
plete this cycle, which was known as the calendar
round. The round gave a unique identity to each
day in the cycle, and it made it possible to record
unique historical events. 16
The coincidence of the two ceremonial cycles and
the Pleiades occasioned the toxiuhmolpilia. It was a
renewal ceremony, marked by sweeping and
cleaning and disposing of rubbish, and putting out
of old fires, a ceremonial procession to a temple in
the city of Tenochtitlan, and the kindling of a new
fire in the chest cavity of a human sacrificial victim,
whose heart had been cut out. New fires were then
lit throughout the empire, and the Aztecs were
assured that their world would continue. 17
Any calendar system is based on long term obser-
vation. At Chichen Itza (a site in the Yucatan
dating to about 800 A.D.) a curiously shaped and
partially ruined tower, the Caracol, resembles a
modern astronomical observatory. 18 Shafts in the
wall of the tower aligned with the vernal and
autumnal equinoxes. The alignments also corre-
spond to the further northernmost and southern-
most helical rising of the planet Venus, (the term
helical refers to the appearance of the star in the
sky just before sunrise). 19 The Maya called Venus
noh ek (great star) and choc ek (red star), and they
knew that Venus completed its orbit around the
sun in 584 days, although the concept of physical
bodies spinning in endless space was probably
foreign to them. Venus was a deity, to be not only
observed but prayed to and propitiated with
sacrifices. They knew it as the morning star for 236
days, invisible then for a period of 90 days, as the
evening star for 250 days, and invisible again for a
period of eight days. 20
The importance of Venus reflected some reality
other than purely physical observation. It served as
a marker for ceremonial or political events. 21 The
Maya also observed the cycles of the moon and
could predict its periodic eclipses. ** They recorded
their observations in a sophisticated mathematical
system in base-20. Their markers were dots for 1-4
and a bar for 5. Powers were indicated by the
placement of sets of dots and bars, higher powers
being indicated by groups of dots and bars written
one above the other. They had a special symbol for
zero. There is no evidence that the Maya used their
system for multiplication or division, but it was
capable of dealing with extremely large numbers. 23
The Inca used quipus to store information. A quipu
is composed of a number of strings, with knots tied
in patterns on a series of strings that hang from a
main cord, and some of those strings may in turn
have dependent strings. The strings are often of
different colors, which recur in sequences. On each
is a series of knots, again tied in distinct groups. If
one views the quipu as an elaborate coding device,
perhaps analogous to a Chinese abacus, it is obvi-
ous that the variables of color sequences, number of
knots, number of dependent strings and patterns of
knots could serve to record a tremendous amount
of information. If the quipu is a very sophisticated
code, the problem is that no one has yet broken it.
There is no rosetta stone to provide a translation to
The chief auditor and treasurer of the Incas holding a
quipu. Drawing by Felipe Guaman Poma de Ayala.
the meaning of quipus into a language recognizable
to European based science. 24
The quipu may have its larger analogy in Incan
culture in a system of geographical locations
encoding observations of celestial phenomena.
Around the city of Cuzco were 328 huacas, or
shrines, which were aligned in 41 directions along
ceques, or lines radiating out from the Temple of the
Sun and reaching to the horizon. Although the
numbers varied somewhat, there were about 8
shrines along each ceque. This system might func-
tion like a giant quipu laid over the city. One could
imagine the ceques as strings radiating from a
central knot, and the huacas as knots on each string.
This imaginary quipu then divided time into units
because the arc of distance on the horizon between
any two lines was traversed in a set time, and the
system might work as a calendar which organized
the space around the city into political units be-
cause certain groups had responsibilities for cer-
emonies during each arc of time. B
The system of ceques and huacas, with its values of
41 and 328, obviously does not correspond to the
365 1\4 day solar year of modern astronomy, but
they do correspond to parts of the lunar year. The
moon is as important a marker of time as the sun
because of its waxing and waning. In the tropics,
the sun moves relatively little across the horizon
from season to season, and the moon's waxing and
waning were more dramatic and more important
markers of time. Two Inca textiles may, like
quipus, record space and time. One has an ar-
rangement of elements that add up to 365, the
approximate solar year, and the second has rect-
angles in groups of 28, which is close to the average
number of days (29.5) in a lunar month. 26 From the
evidence of ceques , huacas, and textiles, it appears
that the Inca year was based on lunar months. 27
Like cloth, metal encoded meaning. The Incas were
superb goldsmiths. They beat gold into thin foil
which they used to plate objects that thereby
achieved particular cultural importance. But their
most significant technique involved smelting an
alloy of gold, silver and copper called tumbaga. The
ingot was then beaten and annealed many times.
Each annealing created copper oxide which was
removed with a salt solution. By progressively
removing the copper, the process brought the gold
to the surface of the increasingly thin sheet metal.
The silver was then removed with a paste of iron
sulfate and salt. The gold remained in a granular
state at the surface of the metal sheet, and it was
heated and burnished to produce the golden
surface characteristic of Andean metal work. The
technique destroyed most of the original alloy but
imbued the object with special meaning. The
golden object became a metaphor for spiritual and
political power. Camay, a term used in metal
working, was the act of infusing life spirit into an
inanimate object. Metallurgy was the power to
transform the very essence of material and imbue it
with religious significance, an inner form that was
more important than the outer form. 28
Agriculture was the most important practical
relationship with nature that developed in the new
world. It was based on the power to observe and
predict events and to control their outcomes.
Indians selected certain plants and controlled their
environments through fire and water. They altered
them and made them dependent upon human
action for reproduction. 29 In the Andes, Indians
domesticated a rather amazing 3,000 varieties of
potatoes. 30 In the northeastern part of North
America Indians domesticated sunflowers,
sumpweed, goosefoot, Maygrass, and Giant Rag-
weed. These plants today are considered weeds
because of their ability to withstand a wide range
of environmental conditions. 31 The Jerusalem
Artichoke, the root of the sunflower, was another
important food source. 32 In the southwest,
squashes, gourds and tepary beans were culti-
vated. 33 Corn became the major food source for
many native groups throughout North and South
America. It is descended from teosinte, a wild
grass. The primary source of food energy in plants
is the seed. Wild plants reproduce by being able to
scatter their seeds freely. Humans collecting seeds
want them to stay in one place and gather plants
whose seeds stay attached to the plant, but because
humans must then remove the seeds from the
plants, the plants become dependent on humans to
disperse the seeds so they can reproduce.
Teosinte's seed cases modified into rigid containers
under human selection. M The Hopi further modi-
fied corn by selecting seeds adapted to the arid
growing conditions of their mesas. They put down
very long tap roots to reach down to the underly-
ing subsurface moisture, and the seedling grew a
long way to break the soil before putting out its
first leaves. 35
The list of crops cultivated in the new world in
1492 includes sweet potatoes, cocoa, pumpkins,
squashes, peanuts, avocados, pineapple, chile
peppers, and jicama. x
Sophisticated irrigation systems made agriculture
possible in some arid regions. 37 The Chaco River,
actually a seasonally flowing stream, cut Chaco
canyon, which became a major population center
from about 920 to 1020A.D. The inhabitants built
large pueblos, of which Pueblo Bonito is probably
the best known. Earthen walls were faced with
stone. Pueblo Bonito had about 800 rooms and rose
to five stories in some parts. Crops were planted
on the narrow flood plain of the stream. Water also
collected in natural basins along the rim of the
canyon, and runoff from rainfall was channelled
down the sides of the canyon. By about 900, how-
ever, the river cut its way deeply into the canyon
bottom and became so entrenched that it wouldn't
flood. The inhabitants of the canyon then build
earthen dams to contain the stream, diversion walls
and canals to bring the water to the fields, and
sluice gates to control the flow. M
The remains of nine major pueblo towns are lo-
cated along a nine mile stretch of lower Chaco
Wash. In the surrounding area there were four
smaller pueblos ranging from 30 to 100 rooms and
at least 50 small villages of 10 to 20 rooms. The
population was close to 10,000 people. 39 During
the great building phase in Chaco Canyon, from
about 1020 A.D. to about 1120 A.D., perhaps
100,000 pine trees were cut for building and fire
wood. After 1120, however, virtually no new
building took place, and by about 1220, the popula-
tion of the canyon had drifted away, and the towns
and villages were virtually abandoned. The most
likely explanation is a great drought in the San Juan
River basin that lasted from 1130 to 1190. Although
the water control systems in Chaco Canyon were
sophisticated, they could not deal with a severe and
extended dry period. Technology had its limits. a
American scientists now look to the uncharted
reaches of space to determine the future of the
universe. Hopi sun watchers still sight the
progress of the sun along the horizon before the
winter solstice, observing its points of rising by
markers such as hill tops, valleys, and the point of
rising over the roof of the Hopi Cultural Center on
Second Mesa. Systematic observation characterizes
both activities. Scientists theorize about the future.
The Hopi know how it will turn out.
1. A. Irving Hallowell, "Ojibwa Metaphysics of Being and the
Perception of Persons," in Person Perception and Interpersonal Behavior,
ed. Renato Taquiri and Luigi Petrullo (Stanford: Stanford University
2. Leland Clifton Wyman & Stuart K. Harris, Navajo Indian Medical
Ethnobotany, University of New Mexico Bulletin, Anthropological
Series, Vol. 3, no. 5 (1941)
3. The de la Cruz-Badiano Aztec Herbal of 1552, trans. William Gates
(Baltimore: The Maya Society, 1939), p. xvii; Emily Walcott Emmart,
The Badianus Manuscript (Baltimore The Johns Hopkins Press, 1941;
Francisco Guerra, "Aztec Science and Technology," History of Science,
4. Ethnobotany of the Thompson Indians of British Columbia, based on Field
Notes by James A. Teit, edited by Elsie Viault Steedman, Forty-Fifth
Annual Reportofthe Bureau of American ethnology 1927- 28 (Washington,
D.C.: Smithsonian Institution, 1930), pp. 450-51, 468, 500.
5. Gladys A. Reichard, "Navajo Classification of Natural Objects,"
Plateau, XXI, No. 1 (July, 1948), pp. 7-8.
6. Aveni, Anthony, ed., Native American Astronomy (Austin: University
of Texas Press, 1977) p. xiv.
7. Ray A. Williamson, Howard J. Fisher, Abigail F. Williamson, and
Clarion Cochran, The Astronomical Record in Chaco Canyon, New
Mexico," in Archaeoastronomy in Pre-Columbian America, edited by
Anthony F. Aveni (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1975), p. 36;
Anthony F. Aveni, Skywatchers of Ancient Mexico, (Austin: University of
Texas Press, 1 980) p. 293.
8. Jonathan E. Reyman, "Astronomy, Architecture and Adaptation at
Pueblo Bonito," Science, cxciii, no. 4257 (September 10, 1976), 957-62.
9. Anna Sofaer, Wolker Zinser, and Rolf M. Sinclair, "A Unique Solar
Marking Construct," Science, 206, no. 4416, (19 October 1979), 283/ 91.
10. J. A. Eddy, "Astronomical Alignment of the Big Hom Medicine
Wheel," Science, 184 (June 7, 1984), 1035-43.
11. Lynn Cesi, "Watchers of the Pleiades: Ethnoastronomy Among
Native Cultivators in Northeastern North America,", Ethnohistory, 25,
no. 4 (Fall, 1978), 306-308.
12. Alice Marriott and Carol K. Rachlin, American Indian Mythology,
(New York CrowelL 1968).
13. Vincent H. Malmstrom, "A Reconstruction of the Chronology of
Mesoamerican Calendrical Systems," Journal of the History of
Astronomy, 10 (1978), 105-116.
14 See Barbara Tedlock, Time and the Highland Maya (Albuquerque:
University of New Mexico Press, 1982).
15. Aveni, Skywatchers, p. 148.
16. Lounsbury, p. 765.
17. E. C. Krupp, "The 'Binding of the Years,' The Pleiades and the
Nadir Sun,", Archaeoastronomy, The Bulletin of the Center for
Archaeoastronomy, 5, no. 1 (January-March,, 1982), 9-13.
18. quoted in Aveni, Starwatchers, p. 258.
19. Anthony Aveni, Sharon L. Gibbs, and Horst Hartung, "The
Caracol Tower at Chichen Itaz: An Ancient Astronomical
Observatory?" Science, 187 Gune 6, 1975), 977-85; Aveni, Starwatchers,
pp. 261/ 62, 64-66).
20. Aveni, Skywatchers, p. 186.
21. Aveni, Skywatchers, pp. 189-90.
22. Aveni, Skywatchers, p. 177.
23. Stanley E. Payne and Michael P. Qoss, "A Survey of Aztec
Numbers and their Uses," in Native American Mathematics (Austin:
University of Texas Press, 1986), p. 213.
24. Marcia Ascher and Robert Ascher, Code of the Quipu: A Study in
Media, Mathematics, and Culture (Ann Arbor: The University of
Michigan Press, 1981); Marcia Ascher, "Mathematical Ideas of the
Incas," in Native American Mathematics, edited by Michael P. Qoss
(Austin: University of Texas Press, 1986), pp. 261-90.
25. R. T. Zuidema, "The Inca Calendar," in Native American Astronomy,
ed. Anthony F. Aveni (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1977), p. 231.
26. Zuidma, pp. 221-25.
27. Zuidma, pp. 220, p. 258.
28. Lechtman, pp. 30-33.
29. Charles B. Heiser, Jr., "Some Botanical Considerations of the Early
Domesticated Plants North of Mexico," in Prehistoric Food Production in
North America, edited by Richard I. Ford, Anthropological Papers,
Museum of Anthropology, University of Michigan, no. 75 (Ann Arbor:
University of Michigan, 1985), 59, 68.
30. Stephen B. Brush, Heath J. Carney, and Zosimo Huaman,
"Dynamics of Andean Potato Agriculture," Economic Botany, 35, no. 1
31. C. Wesley Cowan, "Understanding the Evolution of Plant
Husbandry in Eastern North America: Lessons from Botany,
Ethnography and Archaeology," in Prehistoric Food Production in North
America, edited by Richard I. Ford, Anthropological Papers, Museum
of Anthropology, University of Michigan, No. 75 (Ann Arbor:
University of Michigan, 1985), pp. 207-217)
32. Heiser, pp. 61-62; Hugh C. Cutler, "Food Sources in the New
World," Agriculture History, 28 (1954) p. 44.
33. Heiser, pp. 63-67; Gary P. Nahban and Richard S. Felger,
"Teparies in Southwestern North America — A Biogeographical and
Ethnohistorical Study of Phaseolus acutifolius," Economic Botany, 32
no. 1, (1978), 2-19.
34. Walton C Calinat, "Domestication and Diffusion of Maize," in
Prehistoric Food Production in North America, edited by Richard I. Ford,
Anthropological Papers, Museum of Anthropology, University of
Michigan No. 75 (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan, 1985), pp. 249-
35. Collins, G. N., "A Drought-Resisting Adaptation in Seedlings of
Hopi Maize," ]ournal of Agricultural Research, 1914, 1293-306.
36. Donald Brand, Agricultural History, 13 (1939), 109-110.
37. Robert H. Lister and Florence C Lister, Chaco Canyon: Archaeology
and Archaeologists (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press,
1981), pp. 195-99.
38. R. Gwinn Vivian, "Conservation and Diversion: Water-Control
Systems in the Anasazi Southwest," in Irrigation's Impact on Society,
edited by Theodore E. Downing and McGuire Gibson, Anthropological
Papers of the University of Arizona, Number 25 (Tucson: The
University of Arizona Press, 1974), p. 104.R. Gwinn Vivian, Prehistoric
Water Conservation in Chaco Canyon, Final Technical Letter Report
for NSF Grant No. GS-3100, Tucson: Arizona Archaeological Center,
39. Vivian, 1974, p. 104.
40. Lister and Lister, p. 204.
Clara Sue Kidwell, a member of the Choctaw and Chippewa
tribes, is associate professor of Native American studies at the
University of California, Berkeley. She was guest editor of our
special issue on Native American Women, Fall, 1987.
A Zuni cornfield draped with ropes festooned with rags to ward off birds. Scarecrows made to resemble kachinas dot the field. On
the far slope, two shelters will house families who move to the fields as the crops mature. Courtesy of the Natural Museum of the
THE MEANING OF MEAT
A critical attitude is one of our distinctive liberal
traits. For nearly two centuries we liberals have
examined through the two lenses of reason and
experience whatever has been presented to us as
truthful. In part this critical attitude is fueled by a
belief in progress - that revelation is ongoing, that
knowledge is ever increasing, and that the indi-
vidual and society may be improved through
continuing inspiration and information.
It all began two hundred years ago with Reason
looking critically at dogma and tradition. Then
Idealism, taking the name of Transcendentalism,
looked critically at a religion based only on a
rational reliance on Scripture. Abolitionism looked
critically at the prevailing social and political
structure of the mid-nineteenth century. Then
Evolution and Science looked critically at what had
been metaphysical and mythological assumptions.
As this century began, a modern Humanism,
motivated by the social and physical sciences,
asserted a new naturalism over an old supernatu-
ralism. In most recent years Feminism has signifi-
cantly challenged thousands of years of cultural
patriarchy, reestablishing the order of relationships
and structures of access and power.
Through two centuries of "proving all things" there
has been real progress in insight and understand-
ing. I would even say there has been movement
toward perfection, though our reach will always
exceed our grasp regarding that goal.
In this essay I'm going to talk about Vegetarianism
as a critical outlook potentially as important as any
that has moved us toward the twin purposes of the
perfection of character and the perfection of soci-
My remarks draw from a recent book The Sexual
Politics of Meat: A Feminist-Vegetarian Critical Theory
by Carol J. Adams. Perhaps I was waiting for such
a book to come along. I was certainly ready for it,
and almost every chapter brings a consciousness
Black Angus Meets Big Brahma
Confessions of a Meat Eater
Before getting into the contents of the book, I will
review my own relationship with meat and meat
When I was young my parents raised and "har-
vested" (that is, killed) chickens. My father
chopped off the chickens' head with a hatchet. The
expression "like a chicken with its head cut off
had real meaning for me. I can still see in my
memory's eye the headless birds careening about
with blood spurting from severed necks. I know
the feel of plucking feathers and the warm smell of
Raised Catholic when Fridays were meatless, -
since I wouldn't eat fish, - one day each week until
I went off to college was a vegetarian day.
The first time I remember meat being repulsive
occurred when I was in my early 20's; while living
in Ottawa, we were invited to someone's summer
camp along the Ottawa River for a pig roast. A
suckling pig was actually served. The baby pig was
baked whole from head to tail. The flesh was
exceedingly soft and sweet. And I flashed on
Jonathan Swift's famous satire, "A Modest Pro-
Several years later while viewing an autopsy as
part of my ministerial training, from the corner of
my eye I watched a laboratory assistant clean a
human liver. From that moment I was never able to
eat liver again. It was also the beginning of the
thought that I shouldn't be eating meat at all.
A dozen years ago I stopped eating red meat. And
while I continue to eat fowl and fish, I generally try
to avoid the so-called white meats, too.
About the same time I began to read Schweitzer,
finding his "reverence for life "ethic - that which
enhances life is good, that which destroys life is evil
- especially congenial to my own way of knowing
A couple of years ago I spent an afternoon on a fair
sized Wisconsin dairy farm. It was an especially
bad day for the farmer. The night before a cow had
strangled when it got twisted in its stanchion. It
was lying in the mud and muck behind the barn
with blood draining from its nostrils. The
Tenderer's truck eventually arrived full of stinking
carcasses to winch the dead cow aboard. During
the afternoon a young cow being milked for the
first time after birthing, broke free and rampaged
through the barn; the next day a butcher's truck
took away the uncontrollable cow. We helped
bottle feed winsome calves which would soon be
slaughtered for veal. I started to think about dairy
products as I once had begun to think about meat.
So I am not a true vegetarian since I have continued
to eat animal flesh, though only white meat and
that meat only infrequently. I don't think a moment
of eating any flesh has passed in a dozen years
without an awareness that this was probably not
For me The Sexual Politics of Meat is a book I was
ready and waiting for - this is to say it's propitious.
Carol Adams' reasoning is compelling - hard for
me to ignore when processed by my own powers to
reason and through my accumulating and varied
The thesis of The Sexual Politics of Meat is that the
same cultural attitudes and hierarchies of power
that oppress women also oppress animals. As
women have been and are objectified - not re-
spected for their spirit of being - so the spirit of
being within animals is also objectified. In her book
Carol Adams presents vegetarianism not as a fad
but as a valid and valuable reform - a logical
extension and application of feminist insights.
Adams' analysis of the meaning of meat is, on one
level, a sophisticated exercise in demythologizing
symbolic language, revealing how language masks
reality and enforces patriarchy. She writes:
"From the leather in our shoes, the soap we use to
cleanse our face, the down in the comforter, the meat
we eat, and the dairy products we rely on, our world
as we know it is structured around a dependence on
the death of other animals. The death of the other
animals is an accepted part of life, either envisioned
as being granted in Genesis 1:26 by a human-oriented
God who instructs us that we may dominate the
animals, or conceptualized as a right because of our
superior rationality. For those who hold to this
dominant viewpoint in our culture the surprise is not
that animals are oppressed (though that is not the
term they would use to express human beings'
relationship to the other animals), the surprise is that
anyone would object to this. Our culture generally
accepts animals' oppression and finds nothing
ethically or politically disturbing about the exploita-
tion of animals for the benefit of people. Hence our
language is structured to convey this acceptance."
She makes a great case of meat in terms of what she
calls an absent referent. What is meat, really? Meat
is the flesh of a dead animal. In every instance
when you say meat the absent referent is the once
living animal now dead and dismembered. You
eat a hamburger? the absent referent is a cow.
How did that cow die? it was slaughtered -
stunned and bled and killed and butchered and
ground. But rather than to think of meat in this
manner we generally obfuscate and distance
ourselves from the reality by symbolic language.
Adams correctly points out that for most of us
suburbanites and urbanites our major interaction
with animals is through meat, though we don't
often think about it in this way. "We eat them. This
simple fact is the key to our attitudes to other
animals, and also the key to what each one of us
can do about changing these attitudes." She sug-
gests when you eat meat think, "How am I now
interacting with an animal?"
Saying that probably makes you uncomfortable. I
know that it makes me uncomfortable. Adams
knows this, too, observing:
"On an emotional level everyone has some discom-
fort with the eating of animals. This discomfort is
seen when people do not want to be reminded of
what they are eating while eating, nor to be informed
of the slaughterhouse activities that make meat-eating
possible; it is also revealed by the personal taboo that
each person has toward some form of meat: either
because of its form, such as organ meats, or because of
its source, such as pig or rabbit, insects or rodents.
The intellectual framework of language that en-
shrouds meat eating protects these emotional re-
sponses from being examined. This is nothing new;
language has always
aided us in sidestepping
sticky problems of
obfuscating the situa-
Adams asks, do you see
yourself as eating a
succession of chops,
burgers, and steaks - real
food for real people? Or
do you see yourself - as
does the average Ameri-
can in a lifetime - con-
suming 43 pigs, 3 lambs,
11 cows, 4 calves, 1,107
chickens, 45 turkeys, and
She further points out
that language is not just
male-centered, but also
generally use the word
animal as though it did
not apply to us. Our
language is structured to
avoid our essential
biological identity with
Gtoi&A. Cut J^ocmet
JtT, Eat 4* QtA6n,
Here we squarely face the
real issue of the relationship between human
animals and non-human animals. Is it moral to use
animals - to turn them into things? Indeed the
deeper issue involves "the interdependent web of
existence" - our place in that intricate web of life-
form connected to life-form. What does it mean
when we say we have respect for the interdepen-
dent web of life? What is that respect for, if not for
life itself - life in all forms?
Ethical vegetarianism and the animals rights
movement challenge long prevailing attitudes of
oppression and violence by human animals on non-
human animals. Adams in The Sexual Politics of
Meat joins the feminist cause to ethical vegetarian-
ism - challenging the attitudes of the patriarchy
that are oppressive (not respectful of life) and do
violence (hurtful of life). At the heart of her argu-
ment for feminism and vegetarianism is reverence
for a spirit of life no matter what form life takes.
Life is sacred. Adams recommends that an effective
personal strategy to
undermine the patriarchy
with its violent and
death-dealing ways is to
(in poetic language) "eat
rice, have faith in
women." In this regard
vegetarianism is not a fad
but a serious and poten-
tially powerful reform.
I've left out big pieces of
Carol Adams' analysis,
the identifying of meat-
eating with maleness,
superiority, and power.
Though her book is but
190 pages these are dense
and rich pages. The book
is part cultural, part
history, part moral
philosophy, and part
literary criticism (for
instance, she deals with
Mary Shelley's Franken-
stein as a significant
vegetarian text). It's a
tough but good read.
Now I've been long
pondering the meaning of meat within my own
life. This book galvanizes years of thinking and
leads to these personal conclusions:
1) The distinction between human and non-human
animals continues to dissolve into a swelling
naturalism. It's clearer and clearer to me that the
spirit of being in me identifies with the spirit of
being in any creature. I am more and more
loathe to oppress and to do or participate in
violence to other human beings and to other
BoTXtnAou&e, amd 7= /Sen*. dUaAt
2) There is not just an ethics but also an aesthetics
to true vegetarianism. Vegetarianism transforms
what frequently is a social obsession - eating -
into a more thoughtful and graceful act. And
when that is' so it enhances my whole pattern of
3) Being an ethical vegetarian is indeed a powerful
personal political act challenging a dysfunctional
and dangerous existing order as well as giving
ongoing persuasive witness to a more fitting and
4) Vegetarianism fits into a "seamless garment" of
reverence for life, pushing my humanism into
the deeper spirituality of naturalism.
I suspect that many readers feel discomfort with
these ideas. The images that have come to you are
gory and unpleasant. There's cause why you
should find them so. Examine those feelings. And
examine the arguments of ethical vegetarianism.
Ponder the true meaning of meat and how that
meaning permeates your life. Think about the
reform - the perfection - of your character and of
At the very least prove to the satisfaction of your
abilities to think and experience, that meat eating is
right (prove all things). And as always, "Hold fast
to that which is good."
Rev. Searle is the minister of the Unitarian Church of Hinsdale.
This essay was adapted from a pulpit address delivered in
Park Forest on November 3, 1 991 .
REVI EW E S SAY
WOMEN AND WAR
Barbara M. Conant
Argall, Phyllis. My Life with the Enemy. Macmillan, 1944.
Bryant, Alice Franklin. The Sun was Darkened. Chapman &
Grimes, Inc., 1947.
Cates, Tressa. The Drainpipe Diary. Vantage Press, 1957.
Cates, Tressa. Infamous Santo Tomas. Pacific Press, 1981.
Crouter, Natalie. Forbidden Diary, a Record of Wartime Internment, 1941-
1945. Burt Franklin & Co., 1980.
Dew, Gwen. Prisoner of the Japs. Alfred A. Knopf, 1943.
Hyland, Judy. In the Shadow of the Rising Sun. Augsburg, 1984.
Jeffrey, Betty. White Coolies. Philosophical Library, Inc., 1955.
Kathigasu, Sybil. No Dram of Mercy. Oxford University Press, 1954.
Lim. Janet. Sold for Silver. The World Publishing Company, 1958.
Marquez, Adalia. Blood on the Rising Sun. DeTanko Publishers, Inc.,
Miles, Fern Harrington. Captive Community, Life in a Japanese
Internment Camp, 1941-1945. Mossy Creek Press, 1987.
Nash, Grace C. That We Might Live. Shano Publishers, 1984.
Priestwood, Gwen. Through Japanese Barbed Wire. D. Appleton-
Cenrury Company, 1943.
Rodriguez, Helen. Helen of Burma. Collins, 1983.
Rose, Darlene Deibler. Evidence not Seen, a Woman's Miraculous Faith in
a Japanese Prison Camp During WWII. Harper & Row, 1988.
Rubens, Doris. Bread and Rice. Thurston Macauley Associates, 1947.
Sams, Margaret Sherk. Forbidden Family. University of Wisconsin
Thomas, Mary. In the Shadow of the Rising Sun. Maruzen Asis, 1983.
Tierney, Jane. Tobo. Phiathus, 1985.
Vaughan, Elizabeth. Community Under Stress. Princeton University
Vaughan, Elizabeth. A Wartime Diary of the Philippines. Univeristy of
Georgia Press, 1985.
Witthoff, Evelyn M. Three Years Internment in Santo Tomas. Beacon Hill
Horror and brutality are an inevitable and tragic
cost of war. For a large number of women who
were trapped in the direct path of the Japanese
military machine during World War II this was
especially true; a significant number of these
women became prisoners of war and suffered
privation, hunger, torture, rape or even death.
These stories are personal narratives, stories writ-
ten by the women who experienced the events
described. They reveal universal experiences of
war: brutality, destruction and the diminishing of
Although Japan had participated in the 1929
Geneva Convention, they did not ratify the treaty.
Under the terms of the Convention, civilians posed
no military threat and could remain outside con-
centration camps. The Japanese, however, chose to
intern British, Dutch and American civilians. Many
camps were established across the Far East. Some
were for men only, some were for women and
children, and some were sexually integrated.
Regardless of the type of camp, the internees'
conditions and experiences generally were similar.
The prisoners were semi-starved, denied adequate
medical treatment and physically or mentally
brutalized. While this type of treatment was
universal regardless of sex, men's experiences, both
as military prisoners and internees, are extensively
reported by both historical studies and personal
narratives. The stories discussed here are an
attempt to focus on the women's experiences in the
Pacific Theatre in World War II. The books contain
the personal stories of American, Asian, and British
women who experienced the horror of war first
hand. They constitute a body of writing which has
engrossed me for many years. My interest in this
subject was piqued by my friendship with a
woman who had escaped on the last ship out of
Singapore in 1941. This interest was renewed in
the 1960s when I visited Hong Kong, Singapore
and Manila, but was truly ignited by the British
television series, Tenko, that was shown in the
United States in the mid-1980s. It became an
obsession to determine what was fact and what
was artistic license.
I have arranged the stories in a loosely geographi-
cal manner. In some areas, Malaysia for example,
there were many camps and the internees were
moved to different sites during their period of
detention. Although the Japanese did not have an
official policy regarding internment camps, the
experiences across the Far Eastern region, Hong
Kong, the Philippines, Java, Sumatra, Japan, and
Malaya, were remarkably similar.
War came to Hong Kong on December 8, 1941.
Two young women, one British and one American,
give an insight into the attitudes of the times.
Gwen Priestwood, a Briton, and Gwen Dew, an
American journalist, danced away the night of
December 7; they awoke early the next morning to
a bombing attack. Although war had been antici-
pated, the British were confident of their prepara-
tions and believed that Hong Kong could with-
stand a long siege. However, they had underesti-
mated the strength of the Japanese; after only
eighteen days of bombing, shelling, and guerilla
invasion, Hong Kong surrendered.
Gwen Priestwood describes the attack from the
eyes of an ambulance driver and a provision truck
driver who had to avoid bombs and mortars in
order to fulfill her duties. On January 24, 1942, she,
along with other British, American, and Dutch
civilians, was interned in Camp Stanley. Men,
women and children quickly found themselves
living on starvation rations. Gwen and Anthony
Bathurst, a policeman in peacetime, plotted an
escape. Her book Through Japanese Barbed Wire (D.
Appleton-Century Company, 1943), describes their
1000 mile trek across China, from Hong Kong to
Chungking, on which they had to avoid both the
Japanese soldiers and the Chinese bandits.
Gwen Dew, a young journalist from Detroit,
wanted to see war through a woman's eyes. What
she saw was terror, rape, destruction and death.
During the siege, Gwen photographed the bomb-
ings and shellings. Returning to her lodgings for
film, she, along with a number of civilians and
some soldiers, was trapped in the Repulse Bay
Hotel. After defending the hotel for a few days the
soldiers left, to save the civilians from further
attack and possible harsh treatment at the hands of
the Japanese. The prisoners were taken first to the
Kowloon Hotel, which was across the harbor, and
then transferred back to Camp Stanley, which was
just below the Repulse Bay Hotel. Gwen was
among the journalists who were repatriated in June
One of the most moving passages in Dew's Prisoner
of the Japs (Alfred A. Knopf, 1943) is her interview
with one of the young nurses who witnessed the
slaying of both the doctor-in-charge and his sec-
ond-in-command at one of the military hospitals,
and who was gang raped by the Japanese officers.
MALAYSIA, SUMATRA, JAVA, BORNEO AND
Perhaps the best known accounts from this area are
those of the Australian nurses interned for three
and a half years. A few days before the fall of
Singapore, the Australian Army evacuated the
nurses and the wounded personnel in two groups.
The first group, although constantly subjected to air
attack, eventually reached Australia. The second
group, which included sixty-five nurses, left
Singapore the evening of February 12, 1942. Their
ship, the Vyner Brooke, was bombed and sunk two
days later. Fifty-three nurses survived the treacher-
ous currents and swam or floated ashore. Of the
survivors, twenty-one were exceptionally unlucky
in terms of the troops who found them castaway.
These twenty-one nurses were ordered by the
Japanese to walk out into the South China Sea
where they were machine-gunned. Only one
nurse, Vivian Bullwinkel, survived this Banka
Island Massacre, and for the next three and a half
years lived under constant fear that the Japanese
would discover her secret. Even in wartime, the
murdering of unarmed personnel, military or
civilian, is a crime. White Coolies (Philosophical
Library, Inc. 1955) is Betty Jeffrey's secret diary
account of those years.
Mary Thomas was a young British nurse who
arrived in Singapore in December 1939. With
Singapore's fall imminent, she was given three
choices: stay on at the General Hospital and con-
tinue to nurse civilian wounded; go to the impro-
vised military hospital; go straight into internment.
Mary chose to go to the military hospital. Eventu-
ally she was interned and spent more than two
years in the infamous Changi Gaol. Later she was
moved to Sime Road Camp where she was found
in 1945. Her diary reveals that food in Changi was
not too bad until October 1943. At that time the
dreaded Kempeitai, the Japanese secret police, took
over and the food became deficient both in quantity
and quality. She also reveals that some of the
commandants who were kind, later paid a dear
price for their humanitarianism. Some were shot,
some were reasigned to another camp, and some
disappeared. Her book, In the Shadow of the Rising
Sun (Maruzen Asis, 1983) tells of her experiences.
Jane Tierney's Tobo (Piathus, 1985) is the tale of a
young British woman who wanted to be near her
RAF husband in Singapore. To achieve this goal,
she set out to find a job that would take her to
Singapore. She found one in Postal Censorship.
Although the beginning and end of this book read
more like a modern romance novel, the terror and
danger are evident in the passages where she
describes her flight across Java and her harrowing
passage to Australia.
Janet Lim's Sold for Silver (The World Publishing
Company, 1958) is an autobiography of a young
Chinese woman who spent three years in an intern-
ment camp in Padang. Sold as a slave at the age of
nine by her mother, Janet was rescued and entered
the Church of England Zenana Mission School in
Singapore. On December 8, 1941, Janet was up
early, about 4 a.m., to prepare for her hospital
examination, and witnessed the first bombing
attack on Singapore. Her war-nursing experiences
included caring for Japanese civilians, under the
direction of two Japanese doctors, in a Malaya
hospital. While many of her experiences were
similar to other storytellers', her perspective is
positive. She feels that she received much kindness
and sympathy from both friend and enemy.
The next three women did not find either kindness
or sympathy from the enemy. Darlene Deibler
Rose was a young American missionary who was
captured in March 1942 in New Guinea. As a
prisoner of the Kempeitai she was not allowed to
relieve herself for 72 hours and when taken to the
common toilets on the fourth day, the hole in the
floor was completely hidden by a pile of excrement
a foot high. Her food consisted of a thin gruel of
boiled rice with worms, small stones and chaff
intact. She never received soap or water for wash-
ing. During her interrogations, which were re-
peated every few days for six weeks, if her answers
did not please the secret police examiners, she was
given a karate chop on her shoulder near the base
of her neck, or was thumped on her forehead
between her eyes. Her experiences are reported in
Evidence not Seen, a Woman's Miraculous Faith in a
Japanese Prison Camp During WWII (Harper & Row,
Sybil Kathigasu's No Dram of Mercy (Oxford Uni-
versity Press, 1954) gives a long list of Japanese
techniques of investigation. Sybil's "crime" was
that she provided medical treatment for the gueril-
las and that she listened to the BBC news on a short
wave radio. She was repeatedly tortured, forced to
watch the beating of her husband and the stringing
up of her six year old daughter. Her child was tied
up, then hoisted above a fire. The threat was that
the little girl would be roasted alive, and that Sybil
would have to watch this horror. With the defeat
of the Japanese, Sybil's interrogation came to an
end. The torture sessions had, however, left her
paralyzed and unable to walk. She was flown to
England for treatment and after fifteen months of
recurrent operations died of blood poisoning, the
result of an undetected broken jaw, which she
received when she was kicked by an interrogator's
Helen Rodriguez in Helen of Burma (Collins, 1983)
relates her experiences with the Japanese. When
the Japanese invaded Burma, Helen refused to
leave her patients in a hospital in Taunggyi. To
provide a minimum of medical care, Helen resorted
to stealing from the Japanese. In time she was
caught, tortured and accused of spying for the
The Philippines in the early 1940's was a place of
employment for many Americans. Men and
women came to the islands in the 1930's because
the salaries were better than in the U.S. The
women who were trapped in the Philippines were
there because their husbands were employees of
one of the plantations, or they were working in the
Islands as teachers, nurses or missionaries. Experi-
ences in the Philippines generally followed this
pattern: With the notice of internment, the civilians
were told to bring food and clothing for three days,
and were inducted into a local camp, either on one
of the islands or in Manila itself. Later - the time
varies - the internees were moved to Manila,
usually to Santo Tomas, where they spent the
remainder of the war.
With the many accounts of the Philippine experi-
ence, it is possible to read of the same events from
several perspectives. The missionary perspective is
related in the following titles: Fern Harrington
Miles, a Southern Baptist missionary, recounts her
views in Captive Community, Life in a Japanese
Internment Camp, 1941-1945 (Mossy Creek Press,
1987). Judy Hyland, an American Lutheran mis-
sionary, describes her experiences In the Shadow of
the Rising Sun (Augsburg, 1984). Evelyn M.
Witthoff, a missionary doctor and Geraldine V.
Chappell, a nurse, both Nazarene missionaries,
record their experiences in Three Years Internment in
Santo Tomas (Beacon Hill Press, n.d.). The first two
accounts were written years after the events and
much of the immediacy of the drama has been lost.
The Witthoff-Chappell account, however, was
written shortly after repatriation and retains a
sense of the pain, hunger and inhuman conditions
under which they lived.
The perspectives of American families living and
working in the Philippines are revealed in the
following accounts. Forbidden Diary, a Record of
Wartime Internment, 1941-1945, by Natalie Crouter
(Burt Franklin & Co., 1980) consists of more than
500 pages of daily entries, events and concerns.
Mrs. Crouter's living conditions - such as the
amount and kind of food that was available, the
shortage or excess of water - as well as her daily
observations and insights into the actions of her
fellow prisoners are detailed. She was an astute
observer of humanity and a prolific diarist.
Alice Franklin Bryant in The Sun was Darkened
(Chapman & Grimes, Inc., 1947) lived on a coconut
plantation on Negros Island prior to her capture in
July 1942. In March 1943, she and her husband
were moved to Santo Tomas in Manila. Her very
personal account reflected the monotony of camp
life - when and where she brushed her teeth, how
she got her food, where she ate, and where she
Tressa R. Cates, a civilian nurse working in the
Philippines, first published her experiences in The
Drainpipe Diary (Vantage Press, 1957). A retitled
second edition, Infamous Santo Tomas, was pub-
lished in 1981 by Pacific Press. Tressa, her fiance
and some friends were assisted by their houseboy
for several years, who, for a fee, would bring a
good meal each week.
Doris Rubens, an instructor of English at the Uni-
versity of the Philippines, and her husband man-
aged to evade the Japanese for a year and a half by
hiding in the mountains. Eventually they were
captured and taken to Santo Tomas. Bread and Rice
(Thurston Macauley Associates, 1947) recounts
That We Might Live (Shano Publishers, 1984) by
Grace C. Nash is the story of a family in prison.
She, her husband, and their two young sons were
imprisoned in January 1942. Because of the poor
health of her sons, Grace and the boys lived outside
Santo Tomas between late January and September
1942. When they came back in October, Grace
became pregnant. Cohabitation had been banned
by the Japanese and was, under Camp rules, a
punishable offense. The camp leaders were faced
with a dilemma. Keeping a pregnant female in
camp flaunted a disregard for Japanese orders, but
Americans were not permitted to live outside of
internment. Thus, the safest option was to banish
Grace, in January 1943, to a hospital on the outside.
Miki Sherk was a nurse in the Hospicio de San Jose,
where Grace lived until her son was born. Miki
was the sister-in-law of Margaret Sherk Sams who
wrote Forbidden Family (University of Wisconsin
Press, 1989), a story of a young married woman
who fell in love with a male prisoner. After their
daughter was born, Margaret joined Jerry Sams at
the overflow camp, Los Banos, where they re-
mained until the war ended.
Elizabeth Vaughan, a sociologist, traveled to the
Philippines and married there. She and her two
young children stayed on Negros while her hus-
band went to Manila on a business trip. When war
broke out, he joined the U. S. Army and went to
Bataan. Elizabeth never saw him again. Elizabeth
and the children became prisoners of the Japanese
and were eventually moved to Santo Tomas. The
diary she began with the outbreak of war, A War-
time Diary of the Philippines (University of Georgia
Press, 1985) records her observations and feelings
on Negros and Manila. After she returned to the
United States, Elizabeth completed a doctoral
program in sociology. Her dissertation, Community
Under Stress (Princeton University Press, 1949) was
based on her experiences at the Bacolod camp on
Adalia Marquez provides a Filipino perspective.
Adalia, educated in the United States, was the wife
of Antonio M. Bautista, who became a leader in the
guerilla forces. She and two of her three children
were Japanese hostages for her husband. She tells
of her experiences in Blood on the Rising Sun
(DeTanko Publishers, Inc., 1957).
Phyllis was arrested December 8, 1941 and impris-
oned in Sugamo Prison, where all the long-termers
and the most important political prisoners were
assigned. Her crime was that her news stories were
anti-Japanese. She was one of the journalists
repatriated in June 1942.
While these stories reflect individual courage and
fortitude, they do not reveal the slightest admira-
tion for war. In fact, they could serve as an indict-
ment against the horror, the brutality, the inhuman-
ity that war by its very nature requires of its partici-
pants. While it is certainly true that not all indi-
viduals in a position of authority were cruel or
barbaric, the fact remains that the vast majority of
the commanders of the camps noted above did not
attempt to relieve the suffering of these women.
For the women trapped in the path of this military
machine, war was hell on earth.
My Life with the Enemy (Macmillan, 1944) by Phyllis
Argall is the story of over twenty years in Japan as
a missionary, educator and newspaper woman.
Barbara Conant, University Professor in Library Sciences at
Governors State University, is staff member /Library
Resources for The Creative Woman.
Women Against War
UNITED FOR PEACE AND JUSTICE AT HOME AND ABROAD
Women Against War
59 East Van Buren, Suite 1400
Chicago, IL 60605
THE PEACE CRANES ARE FLYING
Leaving Chicago 11 a.m. Friday
28 October, 1988, 1 arrived
at Narita Airport in Japan
circa 4:30 p.m. Saturday, 29
October, 1988, having crossed the
international dateline for the first time.
Narita Airport is about 30 miles away from down-
town Tokyo and a taxi ride would cost more than
$100 so I managed to find a shuttle to my hotel. En
route from the airport I noticed: #1 that roads were
crowded (as they always are), #2 that all the cars
were clean (as they always are), #3 that the major-
ity of cars are white, and #4 that taxis are very
colorful, with each company having a different
shaped light on top of the car. As we entered Tokyo
(a city of 27 million) I noticed hundreds of bikes
parked, unlocked, on sidewalks. Theft is rare in
Late the next morning, still struggling with jet lag, I
emerged from my hotel intent on finding the
Imperial Palace (just a few blocks away according
to my map).
Getting lost is often fun. People will go out of their
way to point you in the right direction.
As I finally approached the palace, I followed a
long line of people who turned out to be going to
the main gate to sign get-well wishes for Emperor
Hirohito. Their path was bordered by blocks of
reporters patiently awaiting news on the emperor's
condition. I watched for a while, determining that it
was okay for foreigners to sign, then signed. Pro-
ceeding around the palace grounds (not all the
way — they cover many acres) I became part of the
Sunday afternoon strollers, watching joggers and
amateur painters and family outings before finally
making my way (with only a little assistance) back
to my hotel.
Monday through Wednesday I was scheduled to go
with Japanese Rotarians to meet with staff at major
media. At several places I was treated as quite a
phenomenon with my words recorded and picture
taken. In one memorable hour, I found myself in a
(very polite) DEBATE with the president of Kyodo
News Service (like our Associated Press). Only one
morning was free. I took the . subway to
Asakusa (the cen
ter of old Tokyo)
Shinto shrines and
/ Buddhist temples.
One little boy feeding
pigeons shared his pigeon
feed with me after I took
his picture. For one
fleeting moment I had a
glimpse of a geisha.
Thursday I few (on
the wrong side of
the plane to see Mount "^& Fuji) to
Hiroshima where Rotary was ^\ to hold its
"Peace Forum." Met by local Rotarians and
an interpreter, I was quickly briefed on the meeting
and I provided them material for the media we
were to brief the next morning. Then at the sugges-
tion of the host Rotarians I went to the Peace
Memorial Park with the translator, Kyoko Yoshida.
It's important to note that none of the memorials in
Hiroshima are testimonials to the inhumanity of
Americans. Instead, they are testimonials to the
horrors of atomic warfare. Hiroshima is a city that
had existed for some 400 years before it was com-
pletely destroyed on 6 August, 1945. Survivors
insisted on rebuilding the city on the original site. I
am older than every tree, every building, every
street in this city. I was there nearly a week, work-
ing with Hiroshima citizens, gradually learning
that a significant proportion of them dedicate a
significant part of their lives to working for peace.
Most are either survivors or related to victims or to
survivors. Most seem to have what I can only
describe as a core of profound silence. They are
simultaneously gentle and intense. Knowing them
is a privilege.
The Peace Memorial Museum is small, always
crowded with visitors (including the inevitable
uniformed school children), it has pictures and
dioramas showing the images with which we are
all too familiar. Two things made it emotionally
devastating. One was the fact that during the tour
my guide, Kyoko, quietly revealed that her aunt
had died from the bomb and that her mother was a
survivor, having been exposed to radiation. The
second was the white steps of the old courthouse
on which there is a faint black shadow, all that
remain (there were no bones, no blood, no dust) of
one human being who will never be identified.
My second tour of the museum was during the
forum when the official Rotary International party
went through. To protect the officers from being
crushed by the crowds, I stretched out my arms.
Several dozen students stayed closed to this "bar-
rier" without pushing. At one point I felt one of
them touch my fingers and gently squeeze my
The most famous memorial in the park is the
Children's Memorial raised by the fellow students
of a young girl who ten years after the bomb died
from leukemia caused by being exposed to radia-
tion. While in the hospital she began making
origami cranes in the hope, per Japanese folklore,
that if she were to make a thousand, her health
would be restored. She died before she completed
her task. Making garlands of a thousand origami
cranes has become a symbol of the hope for peace.
People from around the world leave these garlands
in front of the memorial. Every month, thousands
of these garlands accumulate there in mounds the
size of automobiles and an organization, formed
only for this purpose, collects them and burns them
in a special ceremony. (Participants in the Rotary
Peace Forum also made cranes, presenting them in
front of the memorial.)
Between tasks in Hiroshima, I snatched time to
visit local sights. With Japanese hosts, I visited the
sacred island of Miyajima, home to wondrous
shrines and the famous "floating" torii gate. Al-
ways protected, the deer here are very tame. One of
them actually stuck its nose in my camera. I saw a
Shinto ceremony where children were blessed (by
tradition, at ages one, three, five and seven) for
continued health and prosperity. Later, back in
Hiroshima, I wandered into the area in front of
another shrine where hundreds of families were
bringing children, in full traditional dress, for the
My last day in Hiroshima my special guide, Kyoko,
helped me finish needed paperwork and board the
famous "bullet train" to Kyoto.
Kyoto was Japan's second capital. Because of the
pleas of an American professor, it was not bombed
during World War II and its thousands of temples
and shrines remain intact. If you concentrate hard,
you could see all of its special places in a month. I
had one day. Taking a morning bus tour, I visited
one of the main Buddhist temples, Noji Castle, and
the Golden Pavilion. At Noji Castle, the exterior
floor is designed to squeak when walked upon (to
warn the shogun and his entourage of intruders).
The nails causing the squeak were arranged in such
a way that the sound was that of a bird. It is called
the nightingale floor. Everywhere, incredible
beauty, enhanced by brilliant fall foliage. An
afternoon bus tour took me to Nara, the first capital
of Japan and site of the country's oldest Buddhist
temple (the largest wooden building in the world)
and the Shrine of a Thousand Lanterns. The build-
ings at the shrine surrounded a thousand-year-old
tree from which hung little paper symbols indicat-
ing that it was sacred. On the bus, I talked with a
widow from New Jersey seeking adventure
through world travel (she'd already been to Nepal
and was planning a trip to mainland China). That
evening, I had dinner with a fellow tourist, a
woman executive from Geneva, Switzerland.
The next morning I wandered around the grounds
of another temple close to my hotel. Three school
boys stopped me and asked if I'd help them with
an assignment from their English teacher to inter-
view a foreigner. They asked me questions (Did I
believe in peace? How do Japanese and American
cultures differ? Did I like Kyoto?) and I wrote my
answers in their school books.
Even if I have a chance to visit these places again, it
was a once-in-a-lifetime experience that I will
always treasure. Above all else it proved to me that
while each culture is — and should remain — dis-
tinct, people with very different backgrounds can
We each, in our own ways, can weave garlands of a
Mim Neal, 50, manager of media relations for Rotary
International, sometimes travels as part of her job, trying to
cross borders of perceptions and perspectives as well as
nations. She lives in Chicago, Illinois.
Kick off your shoes and dance with me
clap your hands stomp those feet
now swing those hips wide
you are the pendulum of time
arcing to the left as night turns
arcing to the right as day appears
Not even Puck could dance like that!
Throw off those clothes and dance with me
undulating trills throaty whispers
heady cries of timeless pleasure
you are the timeless Earth crier
calling to the left as soldiers march
calling to the right as women birth
Not even Arielle could sing like that!
Discard those fears and dance with me
emotional clarity milk of kindness
endless acts deserving
you are the new beginning
creating to the left a new world
creating to the right blessed peace
Not even Gaia could create like that!
IN NATURE, HERSELF
Gaia, the goddess, the planet earth embodied: woman.
The Nude: a female body enters the mind, yes, even after all we've learned...
the voyeur and the ultimate voyeuristic tool,
the outsider, the observer.
The camera, which keeps the outsider outside,
the male gaze made into steel and glass, pointed, aimed,
but these photographs
look more gathered
The photographer: almost always male
The subject: almost always female.
The photographs: almost
always the same bodies, the same flawless, forgettable faces,
just enough careful posing, precise positioning, sensitive selecting and elegant etc. to
ensure there be no mistake that this is art.
But if s the almosts that illustrate,
that reform and re-form.
These photographs are made by a woman of herself in nature, herself.
Not there for us - especially not there for us, male, us,
but there because she is a part of it and it is a part of her
(and a part of us, even, too,
but we have somehow forgotten how to see that way,
to feel that way)
No, there's none of that "other stuff" here,
the conventions that define the genre:
the beautiful light catching the edge of the breast,
the beautiful breast catching the edge of the light,
the beautiful (pick a body part) exquisitely contrasted against
the (pick an element of the landscape).
None of that stuff.
But there is beauty here,
a great deal of it,
and there is certainly the exquisite,
and there is the wondrous celebration/integration of the female,
(not "figure," not "form," not "nude")
with the earth that she loves.
Loves, touches and is touched by.
We should all be so lucky in love.
Professor of Photography
Governors State University
I am an environmental biologist, as well as a
photographer. The genesis of this project was
my enrollment in a graduate art seminar
entitled Self as Genre. I knew from the begin-
ning that my work would include trees.
I listen to the trees. They whisper stories of
the history of life on this earth to one another,
and to others who care enough to listen to
them. When I feel a need for inner strength, I
take a walk in the woods. I envision myself a
large oak tree, gentle and strong. Trees are
resilient, able to endure harsh weather condi-
tions or insect attacks. Trees nourish new
lives as they lie rotting on the forest floor,
providing nutrients and moisture for young
saplings. It may be that I seek these qualities
of endurance in my own spirit. It was with
these intimate feelings for nature that I em-
barked on the adventure of creating these
I was inspired to continue my work with this
theme. Throughout the next year, 1991, my
images evolved to include rocks and water. I
have listened to the gentle trickling words of
the waters of Thorn Creek and the crashing
waves of Lake Michigan as they, too, whisper
the secrets of the living earth.
Water and trees are of the same life force, as
are the rocks. Rocks are broken down by the
water into soil which nourishes trees. Trees are
the life breath of the earth, producing the
oxygen we breathe.
The interdependence of all life forms is evi-
dent. Humans need to understand that we are
a part of the natural system integrated with all
other life forces of the earth. It is my goal to
increase this understanding. My aim is to
inspire my fellow humans to hold the earth in
their hearts and minds, being aware of how
their actions impact the lives of other beings
who share this world.
It is my hope that in feeling this unity with
other lives on this earth, humans will respect
other life forces and not destroy them.
My feelings of unity and respect are celebrated
in these images.
I am searching for a young woman
who stepped onto Ellis Island
alone in 1911
braided hair high cheekbones
peasant dress babushka.
She was smiling at America.
She ironed shirts in a laundry
freeing the wealthy of wrinkles.
Then married a man
who vowed to change like her country.
I want to speak to the mother of ten children.
Two she buried alongside a dead husband.
Three graves shrouded in tragedy.
She dragged sacks of clothes to wash and iron
for men who spoke good English.
Leaving invisible fingerprints in houses
that she cleaned and polished.
I want to see this old woman
hunched in a pew near the Blessed Mother
at mass every morning lighting a candle
for a prayer to be answered.
I want to know my grandmother.
Georgeann Eskievich Rettberg
Dr. Benjamin Natheniel turned the envelope over
and studied the return address. She hadn't been
sure. If she had been sure, she would have written
before she went overseas.
He slipped the note out of the envelope and read it
again. She was coming through Boston on her way
back from a conference in Yugoslavia. She wanted
to come out to Newton and see him.
It wasn't unusual for him to hear from former
patients and students. They called when they were
coming through Logan, they came to his lectures
when he was in their town, they drove across
country on impulse — to see an old friend. The tie
between an analyst and his patients was a strong
one. You told things to your analyst you didn't tell
to your lover, or your husband, or your wife, or the
taxi driver in Toledo, or the beauty operator in the
Bronx. And it was the same with analytic students.
He returned the note to its envelope, slipped the
envelope into the box next to the statue on his desk,
and leaned back in the leather chair he had sat in
for forty years, listening to the stories of others. He
hadn't expected to hear from one of them. It hadn't
been a good ending.
He sat there thinking until he heard the taxi pull
into the driveway. He got up, and went to the attic
window; watched her pay the driver, and look
around. Her eyes focused on the For Sale sign
planted in the front yard. He was moving down to
the Cape, permanently. His son, Steven, who had
taken over the practice, preferred to see patients in
a downtown office. The days of sharing your home
with the people you helped were long gone.
He stepped back into the shadows as she looked up
to the window. She was his age. The age he had
been when they worked together in the sixties. He
ran his hand through his white hair and smiled;
wondering if she would still kid that he looked like
Norman Mailer. He moved to his office door, as his
secretary let her in.
"Nice to see you," he said, extending his hand as
she reached the top of the stairs. "Come in."
There was a quick moment in which they both
recognized how much older they were, and then
that mysterious return to the way they had been
when they last saw each other. He had seen it in
other patients and students when they came back;
felt it in himself, a reaching back behind the years
they had not shared for the old connection, and
then a drive to bring the tie forward, into the
He watched her survey the room while he fixed the
coffee. Watched her eyes bypass the analytic couch,
and move to the alcove where he had conducted
his student seminars late at night after the daily
consultations had been completed and the patients
seen. They had often stayed until two or three in
the morning talking about their own patients,
about their own struggles with the knowledge of
the mind he had given to them.
He had taken psychiatry out of academia and
medical offices and into the streets during the
sixties, and they had gone with him. They had gone
with him into the police departments, into the
welfare offices, into the massive mental institu-
tions, into the schools, into politics. They would
change the system. Make the wisdom of psychiatry
available to everyone, not only to those who could
pay for sanity. They would nip new diseases of the
mind; eradicate old prejudices. Even after Kennedy
died, the excitement continued.
"You still have it," she said, sitting down in the
chair in front of his desk, and reaching forward to
touch the black figurine centered in front of her,
but facing him.
"What?" he asked, momentarily distracted by
picking up the coffee cups.
He stood with the coffee cups, watching her run
her fingers over the three monkeys: SEE NO EVIL.
HEAR NO EVIL. SAY NO EVIL. Her fingers
stopped at the broken neck of SEE NO EVIL.
He placed the coffee in front of her, and went
around the desk to his chair.
"Nice trip from Yugoslavia?"
"What did you give your paper on?"
He leaned forward. "Unusual conference topic."
"Yes, so they told me. Usually they talk about
"How did you come to decide on sadness?"
"Because it's the terminal stage of mourning, the
knowing what was behind the depression."
"That hasn't come yet."
"It's been a long time. Could that have anything to
do with why you're here?"
The old rage soared into her face, but it was gone in
a moment. It hadn't disappeared that quickly the
last time he saw her. It had grown deeper and
wilder as he defended himself against her accusa-
tions, like the New Jersey street fighter he might
have become if he hadn't gone into medicine. He
had forgotten his analytic role that day. He had
forgotten about the objective distance that Freud
had insisted on. He had forgotten about maintain-
ing objective closeness and objective distance long
before that day. They had idolized him: as patients
always idolize their analysts, and young students
their teachers. And he had accepted their idolatry.
But it was more than that. The times were idealistic,
and the knowledge he had developed was over-
whelming in its power. Dr. Benjamin Natheniel
was making the wisdom of psychiatry accessible to
ordinary people: allowing them to incorporate it
into their lives and learn from it, without bending
to the shameful stigma of mental illness. Even the
academics who pushed him out of his teaching
position at Harvard, acknowledged that.
He watched her study the Koshin-Sama. She was
not going to speak. He would have to resume the
"Where did you go when you left Boston?"
"I'm a widow."
"I'm sorry. And Ron?"
"He went to Australia. They put a steel plate in his
head. He works on a ranch in the Outback. He can't
think abstractly. He can't conceptualize."
"Toronto. They only saved her right eye."
A researcher had called him from Sixty Minutes a
few years ago. Sixty Minutes was trying to locate
students who had left the country after the sixties,
to do a story. He hadn't given any information.
"Are you in contact with Ron and Rachel?"
"No, but I always know where they are. You could
have stopped it. You know you could have."
There they were. The exact words she had said to
him twenty years ago.
"You wrote a book about us. A bestseller. Bet you
paid a lot of money in taxes that year. Got your
name on a few missiles?"
He controlled himself from responding to the
nastiness; seeing the old lines of betrayal in her
"Did you read the book?"
"Are you kidding?"
He had hoped they would read it. He had assumed
responsibility in the book. All the royalties had
gone to the Massachusetts Mental Health Associa-
He shifted in his chair and allowed his mind to
wander back to that night on the Commons. Joan
Baez was singing. The universities had just opened
for the fall term. It was the first rally. He had been
invited to sit on the stage. They had come from all
over New England. They filled the Commons,
spilled over to the steps of the Capitol, sat on the
streets of Beacon Hill.
"Was it because of your wife?"
He had told himself it was because of Catherine, at
first. The three of them had given blood when they
took off Catherine's second breast. Catherine
hadn't wanted him to go to the rally. The moment
Joan Baez left for the airport, he had left himself,
and walked over to Massachusetts General. He had
heard the sirens in the background as he walked
along the Charles, but he hadn't stopped. He
hadn't gone back.
"You could have stopped it, if you had been there,"
she was telling him again. You knew the Police
Commander and the policemen. If you'd been there
and taken the microphone, they wouldn't have hit
us. We weren't doing anything. Rachel and I were
just girls. Ron was a mere boy."
He remembered being unable to look at the news-
paper pictures of the clubbings. He hadn't asked
her that last day if she, too, had been hit.
"Did they club you?"
"Of course, you ought to know that. They clubbed
me twenty-eight times. They clubbed me in the
head. I kept my arms over my face, so they
wouldn't club me in the eye. That's where they
wanted to club you, in the eye. And I counted.
Every time they hit me, I counted. When they
clubbed me the first time, I counted 11111111,
until they clubbed me the second time, then I
counted 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2, and the third time 3 3 3 3 3 3
3 3, and the fourth 4444444 4. 1 counted so my
head wouldn't shatter when they clubbed me. Ron
didn't count. Rachel forgot to keep her arm over
She was leaning forward in the chair, bringing the
old terror back to him as well as to herself. Ninety-
eight percent of the human race would have be-
lieved it was because of Catherine. That he had
innocently walked away from the rally he had
organized, to be with his dying wife. They would
have wanted to believe that too. But they would
have known it wasn't true. He had taught them too
much about the unconscious. He had taught them
to see it, to understand it, to recognize that there
were no coincidences in life, that every act was a
decision no matter what the fear that led to it, that
every contact bore a complementary purpose.
He waited, sensing that she hadn't come back only
to accuse him again. She put out her hand and
touched the Koshin-Sama. The last time he had
seen her, she had picked up the statue, aimed it at
his head, turned, and flung it into the fireplace. It
was then that "SEE NO EVIL" had been decapi-
'Tunny how things come together," he said, open-
ing his desk drawer and removing a small black
object. "I found this last week when I was pack-
She put her hand out and took the head of SEE NO
"Must be glue around here somewhere," he said,
rummaging further in the drawer.
She took the glue from him, studied the head for a
moment, turned the figurine around to her, and
attached the head of SEE NO EVIL to its body.
"Ifs not like that," she said.
"Not like what?"
She didn't answer. He waited, but nothing came.
"What happened after the clubbing?"
"I forgot about it. No, it was that I couldn't remem-
ber. I went to Baltimore, lived a normal life,
She touched the head, testing to see if the glue had
"After my husband died, I started to remember."
"You stayed in Baltimore?"
"Where did you go?"
'To the North. To the Arctic. To Bethel on the
"What did you do there?"
"That was the task?"
"What was Bethel like?"
'It's an Eskimo Trading Village. They're hitting
them with invisible clubs up there, for the oil."
"How are the Eskimos handling it?"
"They drink when the white man's around."
"And when he's not?"
"Some of them go into the time of the Dorset."
He shifted forward in his chair.
"Into the darkest of the dark?"
"And you went with them?"
"Not at first. At first I only walked along the
Kuskokwim. Once I walked all the way to the
"Eventually you went with them?"
Her eyes were twitching.
"But you came back."
"I didn't think I would."
"But you did." He was smiling.
Her eyes were still twitching.
"It's not like that," she said, picking the Koshin-
Sama up from his desk, and holding it in her
hands. "You have to see evil, and hear it, and say
"Before you can choose?"
"That's what it means. Once you've gone into the
darkness, you can handle it."
"It wasn't easy."
"Now you can forgive?"
"Yes." Her eyes twitched faster, racing ahead of
something that was coming through, trying to hold
it in, stop it. He knew it was the critical moment.
Without moving he brought himself forward,
closer to her, telling her it was o.k.
"One of us could have taken the microphone too,"
she stammered, her lips continuing to tremble after
the words were out.
He walked with her out to the curb, to wait for the
cab. As it pulled into the driveway, they shook
hands, knowing they would never see each other
MORNINGS WITH GREAT-GRANDFATHER
Like an old freight train
he shuffles from table to ice box.
Hands worn as his cards for solitaire
make me milk laced with coffee
drowning crusty bread.
Willing seeds to grow
he raises tomatoes
in a patch of backyard dust.
His shoes move like lead skates.
We are two question marks
Pheasant feather in hand
he paints dust away
from his only possession
brought from the old country
his mother's clock.
With tiny hands
I try to stop its turning wheels.
In the parlor we sing
in Croatian and English.
"Dobrze! Good!" he says.
Our song is a grateful prayer.
He is my sturdy white topped dandelion
before the wind blows.
Georgeann Eskievich Rettberg
IN NO ONE'S ARMS
A WRITER, EPPIS'
In no one's arms
she imagines arms
In no one's arms
she imagines waking
Waking, she imagines arms
As in dance he takes her
spreads her arms, spreads her
(he was a pilot — was he a pilot?)
She is an angel and rises
The sky is the O of relief
(But what was his name)
The O of freedom
Careless she falls
(the pilot, drunk in her bed)
In no one's arms
she imagines arms
In no one's arms
she imagines waking
Waking, she imagines arms
There is someone else tomorrow
At the supermarket
she smiles at the stockboy
There is someone else tomorrow
and it's that dream
through the I'm no good
(What was the name of the pilot?
How did they get there? Kansas City?
Was it winter? It was winter.)
Someone else tomorrow
in a tiny trickling dream
My mother, a conventional martyr
Didn't raise her daughter
To marry a typewriter
Princess, bona fide Jewish
It feels weird and not kosher
To baby books
Instead of a someday doctor
Far back in high school
When asked, "Is she college material?"
Teachers replied, "She's boy crazy."
I fooled them and declined
Two cars and a split level husband
A lingering death in Forest Hills
Perversely, I embraced a thankless profession
Neglected my Jane Fonda thighs
Let my rear become
Flabby as a worn pillow
Unpublished manuscripts nourished by tears
Mushroom in my closet
Quick as weeds in a garden
Meanwhile, I badger publishers
Learn to eat crow for dessert
Content to create myself.
* Yiddish, means "so what?"
SPRING PLANTING WITH MY
It is a labyrinth of stone,
and I touch the gray coolness
with surety, for it is mine.
The sharp edges are difficult,
keen on tender fingertips,
but the warmth and the shadows
are from my blood, my heart.
Every choice within the wild rock
has been a turning from the tight,
chaotic morass of sound.
I learn the importance of silence
first; the tiny sounds beckon
inward toward my own heartbeat.
I touch the feather of your breath.
It nestled firmly in your hand
as I brushed aside the dry leaves of the oak.
The humus was soft and moist,
but the trowel shivered harshly in my hand.
The rock was blue black in its heaviness;
no roots would ever pierce its unyielding bulk.
My searching trowel confirmed its unmoving presence.
I began to push the damp dirt
back into that difficult hole,
but I saw your small fingers
tighten around the swelling daffodil bulb.
I heard myself say that spring
would bring yellow sunlight
petals to greet you in the early morning.
Spring yellow to make you smile
as you watched the flashing lights
of the school bus stop.
I took off my dirt-stiff canvas gloves
and began to feel for the edges of the rock
with my groping fingertips.
DIARY ENTRY 8/9/89
TO HIS BONES, IN THE HOUSE
Forgiveness is the country I would like
to enter, shoving aside the bars
of fences, pits, and glaring lights.
I glimpse the trees, imagine
a clear bubbling stream where
mounds of rock glow in the sun.
I feel the breezes cross my face,
a balm of fragrance, as toes stub
tentacles of roots' debris. Where
can I rest and wait
for sweet/salt flowing tears
to wash away my fate?
Louise Budde DeLaurentis
Not so often now
do I wrap my arms around myself,
pretending they are yours.
Not so often
do I squeeze myself together,
wishing to fit into your new space.
I accept your strangeness,
as when you were the tall young man
from a distant village
who came looking for brides
but could not rightly pronounce "bride."
In time you learned how to talk like us,
but your bones will never speak our languaj
I must study how to sing in theirs.
I still cry to you
when our sons forget me,
I rejoice when their babies are strong.
I offer you wine and yams,
you who are done with eating forever.
I even tell you the washing-rock stories,
the gossip no man should hear.
I know my voice can be no more to you
than the rattle of palm fronds in the rain,
but forgive me, it is hard,
learning to share a joke with the wind.
BACKLASH: THE UNDECLARED
WAR AGAINST AMERICAN
Crown Publishers, New York, NY, 1991
Reviewed by Margaret S. Matchett
In Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American
Women, Susan Faludi describes the 1980's as a
decade in which women lost ground on a wide
range of fronts — in the work place, in government,
in the right to reproductive choice. The carefully
documented analysis of these losses alone would
make Backlash indispensable reading.
Faludi attributes the backlash essentially to widely
prevalent attitudes which equate masculinity with
supporting a family. As the gap between rich and
poor widened in the '80's, working women became
scapegoats of anxious men who saw their own jobs
If establishing masculinity depends most of all on
succeeding as the prime breadwinner, then it is hard
to imagine a force more directly threatening to fragile
American manhood than the feminist drive for eco-
nomic equality. '
The New Right supplied articulate ideologists of
the backlash, denouncing feminism as the de-
stroyer of traditional family values and calling for a
patriarchy in which men were masterful providers
and women docile homemakers. (It is particularly
infuriating to read of New Right women who drop
their children off at day care centers en route to
offices where they write fulminations against day
The backlash, Faludi shows, was fueled by many
forces, among them the media's insatiable hunger
for novelty, pop sociologists' and psychologists'
eagerness for publicity, Hollywood's search for
sensation, and the fashion industry's incessant
need for innovation.
THE PULITZER PRIZE-WINNING JOURNALIST
I: The Undeclared War Against American Women
by Susan Faludi Price: $24.00
Crown Publishers, Inc. Pages: 576
Publication date: October 23, 1991
From all these and other sources women heard a
new message: You cannot have it all. Working
women were told that the reckless pursuit of a
career damaged themselves and their families,
single women that early marriage was the only
alternative to a life of lonely and embittered soli-
These dire predictions usually were based on
casual anecdotal evidence; at most, flimsy and
misleading statistics were invoked to buttress false
conclusions. For example, a methodologically
flawed but widely head-lined "study" reported
that single women at 30 had only a 20% chance of
marrying, with their chances falling rapidly there-
after. Confronted with clear evidence of error, the
authors of the "study" essentially retracted it, but
reports of the withdrawal were buried in the back
pages of newspapers. 2
Similarly, when Carol Gilligan suggested, in In A
Different Voice, that boys and girls approach moral
choices differently, her very tentative and explor-
atory findings were distorted enthusiastically by
the media to become anti-feminist material.
One casualty of the backlash, then, was truth. One
legacy was diminished women.
The backlash could never mold America into the
backward-looking, dad-hailing nuclear family fantasy
it promoted. But it could implant that image in many
women's minds and set up a nagging, even torment-
ing dissonance. 3
Nor were the backlash wounds psychological only.
There were women who risked unsafe invasive
procedures in search of "beauty" as defined by
artificial criteria. At the opposite pole were the
women who underwent sterilization to hold jobs at
American Cyanamid, jobs which they ultimately
Faludi's anatomization of the development of the
backlash gives the reader general insight into the
role of disinformation in an "information society."
It is a depressing insight, but a valuable one.
Backlash is well annotated, persuasively argued,
and thoroughly convincing. On one topic, it
seemed to this reviewer, more might well have
been said. As noted, Faludi attributes the backlash
primarily to the misogyny of men threatened by a
faltering economy. Her analysis, while valid as far
as it goes, omits another aspect of the 1980's — the
concurrent backlashes against minorities, against
the poor, against unions, and against children. For
each of these reactions separate causes can be
found. Underlying all of them, however, is their
relationship to the maintenance of a pool of cheap
labor. As the United States moved from a manufac-
turing to a service economy, those already disad-
vantaged became more so. Women had never
achieved anything like economic equality; their
state worsened as did that of other disadvantaged
groups. Compassion and a respect for equity are
Backlash is an angry book, and with reason. It
should be read for its wide array of information
and its thoughtful dissection of popular culture. It
should be read above all in contemplation of the
...women can act. Because there is really no good
reason why the '90s can't be their decade. Because the
demographics and the opinion polls are on women's
side. Because women's hour on the stage is long, long
overdue. Because, whatever new obstacles are
mounted against the future march toward equality,
whatever new myths invented, penalties levied,
opportunities rescinded, or degradations imposed, no
one can ever take from the American woman the
justness of her cause. *
Susan Faludi, author of Backlash. Photo credit: Robert Foothorap
-[.Backlash, p. 65
2. Probably any study of gender differences is open to abuse by
backlash proponents. Faludi seems to this reader to treat Gilligan with
excessive severity. To the list of legacies of the backlash might perhaps
be added a chilling effect on open discussion within the women's
movement. Threatened with distortion and misinterpretation of their
works, people can embrace, to their peril, a rigid orthodoxy.
3. Backlash, p. 452
4. Backlash, p. 460
Dr. Matchctt taught mathematics at the Laboratory School of
the University of Chicago until her retirement. She is a regular
book reviewer for The Creative Woman.
WOMEN FOR ALL SEASONS:
POETRY AND PROSE
ABOUT TRANSITIONS IN
Edited by Wanda Coleman and Joanne Leedom-
Ackerman. The Woman's Building, 1727 North
Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012, 1988.
Reviewed by Terri L. Jewell
Founded in 1973, The Woman's Building is a
program that provides women in the creative arts
the resources and opportunities for professional
advancement. Although the 1970s were the years of
society's profound re-education in the potential of
women, the 1980s have seen resistance to Feminist
ideals and regression to stifling social conserva-
tism. Women artists have not yet gained the accep-
tance of the art world or reaped rewards commen-
surate to their number or the quality of their cre-
Women For All Seasons is a thoughtfully edited
anthology containing a diverse selection of well-
crafted, beautiful prose pieces and poems by
women. Each work is strong in its depiction of
some aspect of a woman's growth from girl to
woman. Humor as well as anguish are treated
skillfully, bringing the reader to a delicate intimacy
with the subject. Debra Pearlstein's "Still Life
Writing" is a poet's poem in its clarity and imagery
in describing a woman writer's isolation:
still writing bad checks,
still writing shopping lists,
still writing nightmare scenarios
where I'm forty and alone.
or dying and alone,
where strangers pick through the rubble
of my one-room apartment
and don't understand any of it...
"For The New Bard" by Lisa Teasley illuminates
the struggle between those of dissimilar vision, yet
ends on a supportive note that acknowledges
mutual concerns for a better world.
Next time you drive
the sword between blue eyes,
I will be home
with sweet smelling soaps,
waiting to wash
your strong hands
One extraordinarily effective piece is "The Drongo
and the Hornbill" by Dolly Ogawa who is re-
nowned for her horror stories. This story traces a
maligned wife and mother who makes something
of a drastic but not wholly unlikely choice in order
to preserve her sense of self-hood. Some of the
other works of note are the hauntingly beautiful
story, "Gabriella" by Regina CMelveny; the
poignant poem "Water and Earth" by Terry
Wolverton which speaks to transitions between
Lesbian lovers; "Double Amazon" by Cornelia
LTMils which affirms aging and the experience of
mastectomy; and a short prose piece touching
reconnections between generations of women
called "Mama Dear" by Pam W T ard. J. K. Alberts'
"An Afternoon In August" is a powerful rendering
of a reality not uncommon to many poor women in
small towns throughout this country. And Linda
Huggins' "Second Generation" follows a path of
one woman changed from active wife and mother
to one whose memories of a less lonely past cloud
Each and every work in the anthology, despite its
length, voice or approach, is excellent. Women For
All Seasons is an engaging collection of fine writers
that will call the reader back for many re-readings.
Whether read now or twenty years later, the prose
pieces and poems will be true in depicting the
struggle of women for self-actualization in this
society. Congratulations to editors Coleman and
Leedom-Ackerman, writers of stature themselves,
for this gourmet's choice in contemporary litera-
Terri L. Jewell is a widely published poet, writer and critic. She
lives in Lansing, Michigan.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Your "Crossing the Mainstream" issue of The
Creative Woman just crossed my threshold and lit
up my day. Please send five more copies, so I can
share the beauty and the courage of this issue with
my lesbian friends.
JMG's Personal Statement was especially moving
for me. She showed so graphically what a soul-
wrenching decision it is to establish this new and
unpopular identity. She clearly wants so sincerely
to be authentically herself, and to love and receive
love from another wonderful human being.
Don't we all want this? How can any of us con-
demn or pass judgment on a choice or a relation-
ship based on so much caring and love?
Elaine Lieder's Statement was interesting. How rich
and diverse were her experiences and environ-
ments while growing up. She crossed the main-
stream in many ways - as a woman, working class,
Jewish, lesbian, divorced, single parent. She spoke
eloquently of weaving her working class experi-
ence and conditioning into her later life.
Debora Horning perceptively shares the events
forming her need to marry a man who "would
necessitate untraditional roles for me" - a post-
polio quadriplegic. Freed from this commitment,
she discovers her real self and finds a loving rela-
tionship "committed to creating and sharing life-
enhancing experiences" with "a friend, a mate who
allows me freedom to be who I am."
What a beautiful statement! May all who would
criticize her choice ask themselves, "Am I commit-
ted to creating and sharing life-enhancing experi-
ences; do I allow my significant other to be who
she/he really is? For that matter, Have I given the
time and attention to get to know who he/she is?"
Greta Gaard's sharing of dream experiences involv-
ing snakes reminded me again of the power of
dreams and their connection with our conscious
life. Her vivid word images and flow of thoughts
Donna Lampton's two poems are strong, honest
and passionate - they moved me. I identified with
the passion in a way that surprised me.
Finally I found myself wishing that your guest
editors, Barbara Gerber and Nancy Seale Osborne
had found the time amongst their busy editing
chores to tell the story of their family life together.
Such a rich story it promises to be with a fascinat-
ing variety of interests, backgrounds and experi-
ences - maybe in a later issue?
I want to tell you how impressed I was with the last
issue of The Creative Woman — I even informed
John that I was seriously hoping to be a creative
lesbian in my next incarnation. He looked a little
shocked but only said, "Well, I'm glad it's not now."
Love and Blessings,
I have just gone through The Creative Woman; it is
a very good project to do. I don't know of any other
publication (that's mainstream) to lend itself to an
issue devoted to Lesbianism. So you've promoted
progress in open-minded thinking.
Shady, New York
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
I want to tell you about the most important and
exciting concept I have heard about in women's
politics. It is an organization called EMILY's List. It
is relatively new (founded in 1985) national organi-
zation located in Washington, D.C. that is dedi-
cated to finding and promoting viable pro-choice,
democratic women candidates. EMILY stands for
Early Money Is Like Yeast and one of its critical
aspects is its donor network. It is through this
network that EMILY's List is having a significant
impact on leveling the financial aspects of the
election playing field for women.
It is a marvelously simple concept and it works.
Since its inception, EMILY's List has raised over
$2.5 million dollars for women candidates and the
number of women in the U.S. House of Representa-
tives has increased from 12 to 20, plus there are
now three (almost four!) women governors.
The bottom line is, joining EMILY's List is an
affordable way for busy and conscientious
women to be informed and make a difference.
Suite 750, 1112 - 16th St., NW
Washington, D.C. 20036
The Honorable Alan K. Simpson
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510
"Sexual Harassment Crap."
Many of us heard you utter these words during the
recent Judiciary Committee hearings. At first I felt a
little sick to hear a Senator let his tongue slip to
reveal such feelings. Then I became angry.
I write as an elder — a professional woman who has
not once but many times experienced job-related
sexual harassment, and who has never "blown the
whistle." There are thousands of us across the
country who have had such experiences.
Most often I chose to remain quiet because the
harassers had families who could have been hurt.
But equally important, I did not wish to divert time
and effort from my work with a much-needed non-
profit organization which I was instrumental in
I believe Professor Anita Hill's testimony to the
Judiciary Committee, belated or no. I hope I would
have had the courage to speak up, had I been in her
shoes at the hearings for an appointment to the
Enclosed with this letter to you, Senator Simpson,
is a small reminder of your "sexual harassment
crap" words. The enclosure is a fossil called
COPROLITE. It predates by many millions of
years the dark ages to which you seem to wish our
country's women to return. COPROLITE is ancient
fossilized sloth turd. Look at this small piece of
COPROLITE then, sir, and attempt to control your
wicked, wagging tongue.
Betty J. Ticho
Pacific Palisades, CA
Copies to: Members and staff, Senate Judiciary Committee;
Senator Nancy L. Kassebaum; Senator Barbara Mikulski;
Senator Alan Cranston; Senator John Seymour; Senator Lloyd
M. Bentsen; Senator Robert C. Byrd; Senator Robert Dole;
Congresswoman Barbara Boxer; Congressman Mel Levine;
Congresswoman Pat Schroeder; Congresswoman Maxine
Waters; Governor Ann Richards; Governor Pete Wilson;
California State Senator Diane Watson; Friends; and Others (to
be shared as recipients wish).
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
I appreciated "Crossing the Mainstream." I read it
cover to cover in one sitting and was grateful for it
on several levels. Being a mainstream person
(white, educated, middle class, wife, mother,
grandmother, etc.) I have had scant opportunity to
knowingly access that world. I am indebted, how-
ever, to my lesbian clients for helping to dispel
some misinformation I was not aware I had bought
into. I suppose, like racism, heterosexism exists to
some degree in all members of the 'dominant
culture' and to the degree that we are blind to it,
we run the risk of contributing to its perpetuation.
It is not easy to see with new eyes.
I was unaware, for instance, how the anguish
following the loss of a partner is intensified by the
lack of societal and especially legal protection
which the mainstream takes for granted in the case
of divorce. To my knowledge there as yet exists no
legal redress for a noncustodial parent to obtain
access to children for whom she may have been the
primary caregiver. It is hard for me to imagine
anything more painful.
On a more positive note, it is heartening to discover
the enormous support and caring that is possible
from 'sisters' in both the gay and straight commu-
nity. I found myself somehow strangely (or surpris-
ingly!) envious of the bond which shared vulner-
ability and 'difference' can create.
Thanks for creating a forum for all women (and
some men!) to express who they are and for affirm-
ing the wondrous diversity of the human species.
Head of Sarah Cloyce, one of three sisters portrayed
in the Salem Witch Trial Memorial Statue by
Salem Witch Trials 300th Anniversary
The city of Salem, Massachusetts, is currently observing
a year-long commemoration of the 300th anniversary of
the witch trials. Linda McConchie, Executive Director of
the Salem Witch Trials Tercentenary, says her mission is
to use the observance to educate the public on what
happened in 1692 and to impart a lesson about human
rights and tolerance.
The Salem Witch Trial Memorial Statue shows clearly
that women matter, that what happens to women
matters, and that witch hunts must end.
Support the Salem Witch Trial Memorial Statue in
Salem, Massachusetts. Donations are tax deductible.
Make checks payable to "Witch Trial Memorial Fund"
and mail to:
Institute for Feminist Studies
1005 Market St., Suite 305
San Francisco, CA 94103
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AMERICA'S NUMBER ONE
VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN
For many Americans, the Thomas hearings were a
clear sign that something is wrong with a "demo-
cratic" system in which only two out of one hun-
dred Senators (two percent) are women. Now the
William Kennedy Smith rape trial dramatically
exposes the same fundamental injustice in our
judicial system. For what we have here — in a
violent crime where, by legal definition, the plain-
tiff is female and the defendant is male — is a legal
process completely different from the usual inquiry
into the guilt or innocence of a defendant.
In no other legal proceeding do plaintiffs have to
overcome a presumption that they somehow
"consented to" or even "provoked" the crime. For
example, when people are mugged and robbed,
they are not expected to show they didn't "ask for
it" by "being in the wrong place at the wrong
time," or that they were not overly "provocative"
by wearing an expensive ring or watch. And they
are certainly not expected to prove that they fought
against the attacker, for it is understood and ac-
cepted that not resisting through fear of greater
injury is not a matter of consent but of duress.
In no other trials (including those where there are
no other witnesses besides the victim, and even
those where the accused faces the death penalty)
would a judge countenance a defense in which the
accuser is grilled for ten hours on such matters as
motive and truthfulness, much less badgered hour
after hour with questions designed to make him or
her relive the trauma of the attack.
In no other proceeding is there such a built-in
suspicion of the accuser. In no other case except a
crime of violence against women do we find an
inquiry, indeed an inquisition, where the prime
suspect somehow becomes the accuser rather than
the accused. In short, what we have here is the only
judicial process where the tables are completely
Representative Barbara Boxer (D, California), co-author of the
Violence against Women Act.
turned, where the trial of an accused effectively
becomes the trial of the accuser.
Why, we must ask, is our judicial system so suspi-
cious of women? We rightly view with astonish-
ment and horror societies where, as in Moslem
fundamentalist countries, a man's testimony is by
law considered equal to the testimony of two
women. But how different really are we? And why
are so many of us still blind to this judicial double
Then there is something else that we have been
blind to far too long: the prejudice built into our
judicial system against ways of communicating that
are stereotypically labeled feminine. When the
woman testifying against Smith was crying in pain
after all those hours she was forced by the prosecu-
tion to retell, detail by detail, her traumatic experi-
ence, she was instructed by the judge (in this case
herself a woman) that her crying was out of order,
that "there's just a certain amount of emotional
display we're allowed to have."
What kind of legal system is this that is so suspi-
cious of human feelings — that calls their expression
"an emotional display?" Surely it is time that we
change a system that is so biased that it even tries
to suppress the authentic human reaction to injus-
tice and pain of women (who unlike men are not
trained to despise and suppress their "soft" emo-
tions), as well as that of sensitive, non-macho men.
There is now in Congress a bill that can help us do
this. The bill is the Violence Against Women Act
introduced by Senator Joseph Biden and Represen-
tative Barbara Boxer. It is the first attempt to com-
prehensively deal with what is in fact America's
number one safety problem: violence against
women. Specifically, it contains provisions to not
only make our homes and streets safer for women,
but to train state and federal judges to provide, in
the words of the bill, "equal justice for women."
By writing our Senators and Representatives to
support the Violence Against Women Act, we can
get it passed. And by voting out of office in No-
vember 1992 those who oppose it, we can hold
accountable those who truly do not represent us,
who continue to be blind — as well as deaf and
dumb — when it comes to the rights, needs, and
even safety, of the female half of our nation, who
are actually the numerical majority.
Riane Eisler is an attorney, best known as the author of The
Chalice and The Blade: Our History, Our Future (Harper & Row,
1987) a fundamental reexamination of Western culture which
has been translated into many languages, including Russian,
Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, German, and French. She is co-
founder of the Center for Partnership Studies, has taught at
UCLA and Immaculate Heart College and is a member of the
General Evolution Research Group.
Linda Bubon's review of Bi Any Other Name,
in our Fall 1991 issue, first appeared in
Outlines, August 1991. We regret this
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